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Used Vehicles

Resale Values Forecast to Decline 10-15% by 2014 as Used-Vehicle Supply Increases

Today’s high resale values are an anomaly caused by the shortage of used vehicles in the wholesale market due to the extremely low sales of new vehicles during the 2008-2011 timeframe. Nowadays, everyone is a hero when it comes to getting top dollar for their out-of-service fleet vehicles. However, these artificially high prices will ultimately decline as used-vehicle supply increases.

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The Ongoing Used-Vehicle Shortage Favors a Short-Cycling Replacement Strategy

Nearly all fleet-related costs, both fixed and operating, are influenced by when a vehicle is replaced. Today’s exceptionally strong wholesale market caused by the shortage of used vehicles offers commercial fleet managers an “out-of-the box opportunity” to short cycle vehicles. A shorter 24-month replacement cycle will maximize resale values, reduce operating costs and downtime, increase negotiating leverage with OEMs, and improve driver morale,

Resale Values Up, But Market Remains Fragile

Wholesale used-vehicle prices during fourth quarter 2008 were the worst on record. Since then, wholesale prices rose significantly in January through March. The improvement in pricing in 1Q 2009 reflects better-than-expected retail sales of used vehicles. Resale values for mid-size sedans are substantially higher than in 2008, as are prices for light-duty trucks and SUVs. However, consumer confidence and credit availability remain two wildcards to the market's ongoing vitality.

How Long Will the Slump in Used-Vehicle Values Last?

We are currently in the midst of the worst used-vehicle market in the past 25 years. Year-over-year prices declined every month in 2008; however, wholesale prices did improve the first 10 days of January. Despite this, many fleets now find that the depreciation rates established 24-36 months ago are insufficient for today's resale market. In many cases, resale values of fleet vehicles are significantly below the remaining book value. Here's a forecast for what lies ahead in the wholesale market.