WASHINGTON -- Prices for used Volkswagen diesels have accelerated their decline as the automaker's emissions scandal entered its second month with no definitive word from VW on its repair plans.
Moreover, the actual volume of used VW diesels sold at auction has plummeted, making it tough for analysts to get a clear sense of just how severely the scandal will hit the value of the affected cars.
Analysts say the value of used VW diesels will continue to be volatile until it's known how VW will fix the cars and what the effects of those fixes will be on fuel economy and vehicle performance. Time is of the essence, they say, because the scandal is also beginning to have spillover effects on used prices of VW's gasoline models.
Compared with levels before Sept. 18, when the EPA announced VW's violations, wholesale prices on Jetta TDIs were off 7.9 percent as of Oct. 12 and down 13.8 percent as of Oct. 19, according to data from Black Book, which tracks used-car prices at auctions. Passat TDI price declines accelerated from 7.9 percent to 13.5 percent in the same period, while Golf TDI price declines went from 5 percent to 8.7 percent.
Kelley Blue Book is finding a similar trend, with average auction price declines widening from down 13 percent two weeks after the scandal broke to down nearly 16 percent through Oct. 16. Average auction prices for gasoline-powered VW models declined by 2.9 percent in the same period.
"Some auctions are still holding off on selling the affected Volkswagen inventory," KBB analyst Tim Fleming said in a statement last week. "While Volkswagen diesel auction prices are in decline, we could see larger fluctuations depending on how this inventory is handled."