Spring Selling Season Kicks Off Early With Used-Vehicle Supply Low
Friday March 17, 2023
- Used-vehicle inventory dropped to 2.07 million units.
- Days’ supply for used vehicles fell to 41 at the end of February.
- The average used-vehicle asking price slipped to $26,068.
The supply of used vehicles is lean as the spring selling season kicked off early and briskly this year, according to the Cox Automotive analysis of vAuto Available Inventory data.
as of Feb. 27, 2023
Average Listing Price
“Used-vehicle sales have been up significantly, causing inventory to fall quickly in recent weeks and leaving dealers with especially tight inventories for the tax refund and spring selling season,” said Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive senior economist. Used-vehicle sales typically are strongest when consumers receive tax refunds, which are often used to support vehicle purchases, and through the spring.
The total supply of unsold used vehicles on dealer lots, both franchised dealers and independents, across the U.S. stood at 2.07 million units at the close of February. That was down from a revised 2.19 million at the end of January and down 21% from 2.6 million in February 2021.
The total days’ supply at the end of February stood at 41, down from the revised 49 days’ supply at the end of January. Days’ supply was 3% below the year-ago levels.
The Cox Automotive days’ supply is based on the daily sales rate for the most recent 30-day period. Sales were relatively strong, just ahead of the spring selling season, up 4% from a year ago. Sales for the full calendar month of February were down 12% but showed strength near the end of the month.
Used-vehicle prices slipped again in February to $26,068, down from the downwardly revised $26,324 at the end of January.
AVERAGE USED-VEHICLE LISTING PRICE GIVING BACK SOME POST-COVID GAINS
Prices still falling – on average – and rate of decline now 6%
“Prices have been falling, but the tight supply might be providing some price support,” said Chesbrough. “Used prices may fall further, but it seems unlikely a massive decline will happen given the supply situation.”
As with new cars, the lower the price, the tighter the inventory. Days’ supply for vehicles priced under $10,000 was 31. Days’ supply for vehicles priced between $10,000 and $15,000 was 37, between $15,000 and $20,000 was 40 and $20,000 to $35,000 around 41. Vehicles priced above $35,000 had the highest days’ supply at 49.
Acura, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Genesis, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Mercury, Mitsubishi and Toyota had days’ supply below 45.
For more insights on used-vehicle inventory using a 30-day rolling sales methodology to calculate days’ supply, reach out to the Cox Automotive Public Relations team.
Rebecca Rydzewski is a research manager for economic and industry insights for Cox Automotive.