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Jonathan Smoke, chief economist, speaks on used-vehicle values

Tariff Threat May Contribute To Higher Used Car Prices

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Article Highlights

  1. It’s a volatile situation, but it sure looks as if the Trump Administration’s threat to impose a tariff on auto imports is contributing to an increase in used-vehicle values, as buyers rush to beat a potentially bigger price increase, an analyst said.
  2. “We believe at the core of this, if there’s any chance that in three to six months vehicles are going to be more expensive, it’s more rational to buy now,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive.
  3. It’s a little early to tell, and there are other factors in play, he said. But economists are watching whether it was a coincidence that used-vehicle prices saw an increase in July, on the heels of an announcement about possible tariffs.

It’s a volatile situation, but it sure looks as if the Trump Administration’s threat to impose a tariff on auto imports is contributing to an increase in used-vehicle values, as buyers rush to beat a potentially bigger price increase, an analyst said.

“We believe at the core of this, if there’s any chance that in three to six months vehicles are going to be more expensive, it’s more rational to buy now,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive.

It’s a little early to tell, and there are other factors in play, he said. But economists are watching whether it was a coincidence that used-vehicle prices saw an increase in July, on the heels of an announcement about possible tariffs.

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