Industrywide sales of certified used vehicles rose 11 percent in the first quarter from the year-earlier level, with many companies registering double-digit increases.
Overall certified sales totaled 551,737 units in the quarter. In March, sales increased 9 percent to 206,426 from a year earlier, data from the Automotive News Data Center and Autodata Corp. show.
In 2013, certified used-vehicle sales set a record at 2,112,761, up 15 percent.
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. remains the largest seller of certified pre-owned units, but Toyota Division sales slipped 4 percent during the quarter to 85,869 and fell 8 percent in March to 31,687.
Dave Depew, Toyota manager of certified used-vehicle sales, says sales eased in part because Toyota shifted its emphasis to new-vehicle sales in the quarter, taking some focus off CPO. Also, the company’s off-lease volume -- the bread and butter of its CPO program -- is expected to fall 21 percent this year from 2013, the result of production cuts after the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011.
“Yes, we’re down year-over-year, but it looks like we’ll have the best April we’ve ever had,” Depew says. “We’ll be somewhere above 31,000 in April. I won’t say there’s less focus on new vehicles, but some areas of the country are now putting a little more focus on certified pre-owned.”
In March, Toyota Motor Sales’ certified sales dropped 6 percent to 38,583; its sales for the quarter slid 2 percent to 103,924.
In the wake of Toyota Division’s decline, General Motors’ GM Certified became the largest selling certified brand in March and for the quarter.
At GM Certified, which covers sales of Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac and Saturn brands, sales jumped 13 percent to 92,562 through March. Its March sales rose 2 percent to 31,985.
Just two other continuing-brand certified used-vehicle programs, among those with sales of at least 1,000 units, joined Toyota Division in reporting first-quarter declines. Volkswagen division’s sales fell 10 percent to 21,471, and Volvo Cars North America’s dipped 1 percent to 2,825.