Used Car Prices Trending Uneven vs. 2013 New Car sales


The latest used car prices are trending opposite common thought for new model year sales season 2013.

According to the latest figures posted on, used convertibles and coupes sales have dropped over 2% in the past 30 days. This is counter to the fact convertible sales were actually up slightly year over year and demand for coupes was down. While this may seem a minor tick considering their small numbers sold compared to sedans, another interesting twist is in the contrast of  mini-vans, which traditionally show increased sales as family vacation season starts in May and continues until Labor Day, are up almost 10% in the past month and 15% year over year.

What is responsible for this shift in used car sales trending opposite common car theology?

One might say it is the result of pent-up demand, last gasps from an aging fleet or easing of credit availability in the car market.

Another theory is rental car agencies taking delivery of new 2013 models, causing a ripple of late model used vans into the auction pool.

The increase in sales of used trucks is also skewed, with surges around specific brands: Ford trucks posted 4% gains while Dodge Ram dropped 1.86% in the past 90 days and Chevy inched up a quarter percentage point, as gas prices remained over $ 3.70 a gallon in most of the country. The overall sales of used trucks was up over 5% from last year, perhaps an indication that construction crews are rolling again.

LUXURY USED CAR PRICES soften slightly as inventory grows scarce in HOT models.

On the luxury front,  Jaguar posted a 7% jump in used car sales over last year, while the past 30 days dropped off 4%, an indication of how hard it has been for dealerships to maintain inventory of pre-owned Jaguars. Gaudin Jaguar of Las Vegas reported purchasing a 2007 Jaguar XJ8 Vanden Plas from a client at 11 am and selling that same car in less than 4 hours to a client making their first visit to the dealership. While condition and miles play an important role in the demand for luxury used cars, late model pre-owned  imports (Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Acura, BMW, Mercedes) showed a significant drop in sales across the board year over year, while specific import brands jumped over 3% in new car sales. Only Kia showed a positive performance in both new and used car sales over last year, perhaps due to the price point and increased production from their plant in Georgia.

New Car dealers reported  strong sales in August as new 2013 models arrived on the wave of auto enthusiast interest and Labor Day End of Model Year deals on remaining 2012, however September and October have been mired in Election Day malaise.

“Buyers are shopping carefully, in many cases they are buying out of necessity; lease-end, car accident, new driver in the house or their car is dying,” said one car salesperson, wishing to remain anonymous, “the bright spot is the special occasion birthday, anniversary or job bonus sale, that’s when it’s fun again.”  Whatever the reason for the new or used car purchase, auto manufacturer’s and dealers are happy to see shoppers kicking tires again.

As sales of new cars are expected to top 14 million for 2012, trade-ins will help re-stock used car lots as consumers gravitate toward the latest models.  The next 30 days will certainly see dealers watching their inventories and consumers answering polls, while the car sales gurus will be studying supply and demand after November 6th, with an occasional side glance at the Farmer’s Almanac and Black Friday.


Sarah Lee Marks is MyCarlady. She has over 23+ years of experience. She writes about cars, and is a staunch consumer advocate on car related subjects. MyCarlady offers free car buying advice, and private, auto-related services to help you maintain your personal or commercial vehicles.  Call Sarah Lee for more information: 702-521-7546. Join the MyCarlady newsletter to be kept up-to-date on this and other important car information.

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