Used-vehicle sales in 2022 tumbled to their lowest numbers in nearly a decade, and used volume is poised to fall further this year if volatile economic conditions and consumers' resulting affordability concerns continue to hamper the market.
The 2022 volume drop — a turnabout from a record 2021 — occurred even as wholesale used-vehicle prices were sliding for most of last year, according to data from Cox Automotive auction unit Manheim. And despite a slight recovery in those prices in December, Cox forecasters say wholesale prices are likely to continue to decline in 2023.
The number of used cars and trucks sold in the U.S. decreased nearly 11 percent to an estimated 36.2 million vehicles in 2022, Cox said Thursday. That is the lowest that figure has gone since 2013 when about 35.8 million were sold. Used-vehicle sales on the retail side fell, too, dropping nearly 10 percent to an estimated 19.1 million vehicles last year, the lowest retail performance since 2016, according to Cox. Exact figures for 2022 will be finalized in February after registration data for the year is fully in.