The used-vehicle market has gone through one of the most turbulent periods ever seen by dealers. It's perhaps best seen in a graph of wholesale values from J.D. Power through the week ended Sept. 27.
The year was expected to see another banner selling period for used vehicles during tax-return season. J.D. Power data shows a steady ascent in wholesale values of vehicles up to 8 years old into mid-March. Then, as auctions went all-digital and many dealerships were forced to close showrooms as customers mostly stayed home when the pandemic hit, the plummet began.
For the week ended April 12, wholesale auction sales totaled just 19,000 vehicles, down 83 percent from the pre-virus weekly average, according to J.D. Power. Retail used-vehicle sales at franchised dealerships during the first 12 days of April tumbled 63 percent vs. the same period in 2019.