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Data Point

Used Retail Vehicle Sales Accelerate in February

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According to vAuto Live Market View data estimates, retail used-vehicle sales in February increased from January and were up by 13.5% month over month. A total of 1.49 million used vehicles were sold at retail – from both franchised and independent dealers – during February, up 10.7% year over year and the highest volume since March 2023. Spring fever and tax refund season boosted used retail sales through the month of February and dropped days’ supply to 44 at the beginning of March, down from a revised 53 at the beginning of February.

 Monthly Used-Vehicle Retail Sales Volume

“Historically used retail sales peak in March or April of a given year as tax refunds inject money into the economy,” said Jeremy Robb, senior director of Economic and Industry Insights at Cox Automotive. “As the average tax refund is up 6% so far in 2024, consumers have been driven to the used retail market earlier in the year, leading to stronger used-vehicles sales in February than we have seen the last couple of years.”

The retail used-vehicle sales estimates are based on observed unit changes tracked by vAuto, a Cox Automotive company specializing in inventory management. Retail used-vehicle sales this year, unlike 2023, increased month over month in February. February’s used vehicle sales reached 1.49 million, a decrease from the average of 1.65 million in February sales from 2019 through 2021, but higher than in February 2022 and 2023.

CPO Sales Volume Strongest Since February 2020

Both overall retail used-vehicle sales and sales of certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles increased in February, according to data reviewed by Cox Automotive. In February, CPO sales, which are a subset of total retail used vehicle sales, were up 2.3%, or nearly 4,800 units, compared to February 2023, representing the strongest February CPO volume since 2020. CPO sales last month are now estimated at 210,741, up from 201,621 in January, an increase of 4.5%, typical for this time of year. There was an extra sales day in February, which mitigates about 3% of the gain.

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