A more crowded market of electrified and efficient gasoline-powered vehicles is pushing down prices of used hybrids. Moderating gasoline prices are hurting, too.
Facts from Kelley Blue Book:
- The average price of used hybrids in early May was about 12 percent lower than it was a year ago.
- Introductions of new hybrid models have increased the size of the used-hybrid market an average of 29 percent a year over three years.
- Off-lease auction volume of hybrids, a result of aggressive lease deals a few years ago, helped increase the segment volume by 20 percent in the first quarter compared with the first quarter last year.
Prices of used hybrids are expected to continue to decline as new hybrid, plug-in hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles enter the market every year, says Alec Gutierrez, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
"There weren't as many alternatives on the new-vehicle front, but today you have the Ford C-Max hybrid, you've got great lease promos on the Nissan Leaf and the Ford Focus electric," Gutierrez says.
"Even your average mid-sized sedan and your compact crossover gets greater than 30 mpg on the highway. So hybrids are not as popular as they were just a year ago. Hence we're seeing some price softening."
Ricky Beggs, managing editor at Black Book, is seeing a similar trend.
For example, Black Book data show the average price of a used 2012 Prius dropped $1,800 from January 1 through early May. In the same period last year, the average price of a 2011 Prius rose by $3,000.
As of early May, the average price of a gasoline-engine 2011 Ford Escape dropped $275 from the Jan. 1 level. The average price of the 2011 hybrid Ford Escape dropped $675.
Beggs says moderating gasoline prices contribute to the price trends.