Used vehicle prices moderating but still high after pandemic spike: survey

RICHMOND HILL, Ont. — Used vehicle prices continued to moderate in the first half of the year but remain higher than historical levels amid vehicle sourcing challenges, according to the results of a survey by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Its poll of Used Car Dealers Association members found sales results for the first half of 2023 came in at an average of 67 units for independent used vehicle dealers, equal to the average amount sold during the same period last year.

The used vehicle arms of franchised new vehicle dealers saw an average of 155 sales, up from 148 a year ago, boosted by increased trade-ins.

But sales expectations for the entire year came in at 305 units for franchised new dealers and 140 for independents, lower than forecasted at the beginning of the year.

Sourcing troubles have been felt particularly by independent members, 51 per cent of whom said such challenges have worsened, while only 12 per cent said they had improved. For the first half of 2023, independents primarily sourced their used vehicles from auctions, according to the poll.

DesRosiers said the used vehicle market saw a meteoric rise in prices from 2020 to 2022, along with a sharp drop in availability.

“The latter parts of 2022 and the first half of 2023 saw some moderation in used vehicle prices as improved new vehicle supply began to partially alleviate some pressure from used vehicle demand,” said DesRosiers managing partner Andrew King in a press release.

For used cars, 34 per cent of dealers reported price decreases compared with the first half of 2022 while 44 per cent noted increases. Less than a quarter said used car prices were stable year over year.

SUVs saw similar trends, with 36 per cent of dealers reporting price decreases and 41 per cent noting increases. For pickups, 39 per cent of respondents said there were price decreases against 36 per cent that noted increases.