As summer wanes, used-vehicle values are unusually strong — a phenomenon experts attribute to increasing demand for used vehicles, growing dealer focus on that part of their businesses and concern over potential tariffs.
Analysts with the industry's major used-vehicle price tracking services all are calling out the unusual trend. Summer, especially the latter part of the season, is when used-vehicle prices typically dip in preparation for the summer sales push ending.
"It's been a crazy year for used-vehicle pricing," said Zohaib Rahim, Cox Automotive manager of economics and industry insights. The company's Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index ended July at its highest point ever, rising 1.5 percent over June and 5.1 percent vs. the year earlier, he said, and prices appear to be continuing that strength in August, too.
"That's not alarming, but it's very abnormal. We don't see this price trend this part of the year," Rahim said. "Used-vehicle prices typically peak in spring, so March and April, and they decline the rest of the year."
Multiple forces are converging to bring about the increases, experts said. Analysts from Black Book and KAR Auction Services Inc. also report higher prices than normal for the season.