Many Americans are priced out of the new-car market.
At wholesale auctions, used-vehicle prices rose 4.0% in March from March last year, according to Manheim, the largest auto-auction company in North America, which runs about 8 million vehicles through its auctions a year. In the chart of the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, which is adjusted for mix, mileage, and seasonality, note the spike through October 2018, alongside the spurt of the economy in Q2 and Q3, and the subsequent decline that left prices at still very high levels:
At these wholesale auctions, used mid-size cars – total duds as new vehicles – saw such brisk demand in March that prices jumped 7.2% from March a year earlier. Except for vans, all major vehicle classes experienced wholesale price increases compared to March 2018, according to Manheim, but the surge in the prices of midsize cars stands out: