U.S. sales of new cars totaled just over 1.5 million units in September. Sales of new cars totaled well over 40 million. The wholesale price of a used car rose 2.77% year over year.
According Cox Automotive’s chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, the increase in value and the 8.8% year-over-year gain in unit sales are “directly attributable” to hurricanes Harvey and Irma. New car sales in September racked up a seasonally adjusted rate (SAAR) of 18.5 million units, a 30-year high for the month and the highest SAAR level since July 2005.
Both the replacement demand and reduction in available supply is causing widespread wholesale inventories to tighten, and we expect this to result in wholesale price gains for at least another month or two.
According to Cox Automotive’s Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, the largest wholesale value increase came in the pickup and van category, where prices rose 9.1% year over year for pickups and 8.9% for vans.
Luxury car values rose 6.4%, while sport utility vehicles and crossovers saw a hike of 6%. Compact cars got a boost of 4.4% and midsize cars, also the poorest sellers among new cars, gained 2.3% compared to September of 2016.
Cars less than four years old represent the largest part of the used car market, and unit sales of these vehicles is up 5% year over year. Sales of used rental cars rose 4% year over year and 2% compared to August. The average mileage on a used rental unit in September was 42,200, a year-over-year increase of 6%.