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Jonathan Smoke, Cox Automotive chief economist, on used market

Used-car demand bypasses ‘normal softening’

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Article Highlights

  1. By this time of year, used-vehicle demand (unlike the weather) typically cools down a bit. Not the case in 2018. The “steady and strong” retail used-car market keeps chugging along and is likely to reach 39.5 million sales this year, then level out, according to Cox Automotive.
  2. “The used market continues to be strong, powered by availability of off-lease vehicles that offer an alternative to the value-conscious and/or affordability-challenged buyer,” Cox Automotive chief economist Jonathan Smoke said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
  3. “At Manheim, we saw weekly prices and dealer purchases increase in the final week of the month, which is typically an indicator of very strong retail demand,” Smoke said, referring to Cox Automotive’s chain of wholesale auto auctions. “This is usually the time of the year when used vehicle demand softens a bit, following a tax refund-driven spring, but so far this year, we are not seeing signs of a normal softening,” he said.

By this time of year, used-vehicle demand (unlike the weather) typically cools down a bit.

Not the case in 2018.

The “steady and strong” retail used-car market keeps chugging along and is likely to reach 39.5 million sales this year, then level out, according to Cox Automotive.

That figure would be an increase from 39 million used-car sales in 2017.

“The used market continues to be strong, powered by availability of off-lease vehicles that offer an alternative to the value-conscious and/or affordability-challenged buyer,” Cox Automotive chief economist Jonathan Smoke said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

“At Manheim, we saw weekly prices and dealer purchases increase in the final week of the month, which is typically an indicator of very strong retail demand,” Smoke said, referring to Cox Automotive’s chain of wholesale auto auctions.

“This is usually the time of the year when used vehicle demand softens a bit, following a tax refund-driven spring, but so far this year, we are not seeing signs of a normal softening,” he said.

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