Analysts at J.D. Power Valuation Services note that after six consecutive months of declines, the used vehicle market bounced back in March. As a result, the J.D. Power Valuation Services’ Seasonally Adjusted Used Vehicle Price Index increased by 1.1 points – relative to February – to 117.5.  March’s positive result comes after weaker than usual January and February performances.

J.D. Power Valuation Services projected the used market will slow and prices will fall.

Increasing levels of used supply, coupled with more volatile credit conditions and increasing gas prices, are expected to apply additional downward pressure on the used car market.

Average wholesale prices and retail used vehicle sales were strong in March, typifying the usual spring/tax season market uptick.  In addition, car segments are beginning to hold up better, while crossover and SUV truck segments may be starting to have a tougher go, according to ADESA Analytical Services.  

According to ADESA Analytical Services’ monthly analysis of Wholesale Used Vehicle Prices by Vehicle Model Class, wholesale used vehicle prices in March averaged $11,095.

This is up 3 percent compared to February and up 2.5 percent compared to March 2018.  All segments experienced month-over-month increases, with car prices going up more than truck prices on average.

Following a lower-than-expected February, Cox Automotive is forecasting March U.S. auto sales volume to hit 1.547 million, an increase from February.

Sales remain down nearly 7 percent from March 2018. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales is forecast to be 16.8 million units, up from February’s sales pace of 16.5 million, but down from last year’s 17.2 million pace. 

Even with healthy March sales, the sales rate in the first quarter of 2019 is expected to be 16.7 million units, below the 17.1 million sales rate achieved in the first quarter of 2018. 
The number of selling days is one less this year, 27 versus 28 last year, which increases the seasonal adjustment applied in the SAAR.

The number one brand that speaks to Millennial shoppers and younger is Chevrolet, according to the latest study by 

Much of this appeal has to do with how the Chevy brand resonates with a younger cohort of buyers who are highly sensitive to conspicuous consumption and value. 

Autolist polled 1,750 current car shoppers and asked them which brand they believed was most relevant to their age group, which brand they would buy today and which brand they currently owned.

Chevy was the top answer to all three questions by Millennials and Gen Z buyers (anyone under 36). 

Chevy's smaller vehicles like the Spark, Cruze and Trax have obvious appeal to younger, price-conscious shoppers. But there are other Chevy models that rank high in purchase consideration among younger buyers.

New-vehicle retail sales in March are expected to fall from a year ago, according to J.D. Power.

Sales are expected to decline to 1,195,000 units, a 3.4 percent decrease compared with March 2018. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for retail sales is expected to be 13 million units, down 400,000 from a year ago.

New-vehicle retail sales in the first quarter are projected to reach 2,944,200 units, a 4.9 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2018.

Total sales in March are projected to reach 1,562,800 units, a 2.1 percent decrease compared with March 2018.  The SAAR for total sales is expected to be 16.9 million units, down 400,000 from a year ago.

New vehicle total sales in the first quarter are projected to reach 3,952,100 units, a 2.5 percent decrease compared to the first quarter of last year.

The combination of lower volumes and higher prices means that consumer expenditures on new vehicles will be down only 3 percent.

The rise in transaction prices reflects a combination of factors and is being accelerated by the severe contraction of industry sales at lower price points. For example, retail sales of vehicles under $25,000 are expected to be down 12 percent in the first quarter compared with 5 percent overall. Incentive discipline also helps drive prices higher.

Incentive spending-to-date in the first quarter is $3,821 per unit, down $119 from the same time last year. Spending on cars is down $333 to $3,627, while spending on trucks/SUVs is down $27 to $3,903.

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