Wholesale: Market News

Wholesale: Market News (58)

Wholesale used-vehicle prices (on a mix, mileage, and seasonally adjusted basis) were down in May compared to April. The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index fell to 197.3, a decline of 12.1% from a year ago. The seasonal adjustment to the index reduced the impact on the month, resulting in values that declined 0.6% month over month. The non-adjusted price in May decreased by 1.2% compared to April, moving the unadjusted average price down 11.4% year over year. 

Cox Automotive"s Jeremy Robb. 

“While declines in used-vehicle values overall were a bit muted in the first half of May, they picked up in the latter half of the month,” said Jeremy Robb, senior director of Economic and Industry Insights at Cox Automotive. “It’s seasonally normal to get some weakening in the market over the Memorial Day weekend; but this month, we experienced a little more softening in the final week. As we move into summer, used retail days’ supply remains lower than last year, which could bring in more buyers at Manheim in the coming weeks.” 

In May, Manheim Market Report (MMR) values saw weekly decreases that were slightly above long-term average declines, though the first half of the month was better while the back half was weaker. Over the last four weeks, the Three-Year-Old Index decreased an aggregate of 2.0%, including a decline of 0.7% in the last week of the month, which was the week of the Memorial Day holiday. Those same five weeks delivered an average decrease of 1.5% between 2014 and 2019, illustrating that depreciation trends are currently tracking higher than long-term averages for the year. 

The average daily sales conversion rate in May dropped to 56.4%, showing that demand declined relative to April, which is seasonally normal for this time of year and includes the Memorial Day holiday week. For comparison, the daily sales conversion rate averaged 55.2% in May over the last two years. 

The major market segments all experienced seasonally adjusted prices that were down year over year in May. Compared to May 2023, pickups and luxury were the only segments that outperformed the industry, down 11.2% and 11.4%, respectively. SUVs declined by 13.2% year over year, midsize cars were down 16.3%, and compact cars were the worst-performing segment, falling by 17.4% against last year. Compared to the previous month, pickups show the best results, rising by 0.3% against April. Performing worse than the industry, SUVs fell by 1.0%, luxury was down 1.3%, midsize cars declined 1.9%, and compact cars fell the most against April, declining by 2.2% for the month. 

“With just the click of a button, sellers can indicate they are committed to selling a vehicle that same day, and buyers looking to stock their lots can quickly discern who’s ready to deal,” said James Coyle, president of North American marketplaces at OPENLANE.

Coyle was unveiling Absolute Sale, a new format that enables sellers to signal they will sell a vehicle to the highest offer that day. The exclusive feature increases buyer confidence and visibility, boosting engagement and optimizing seller returns.

“Buyers also save time, knowing that if they submit the highest bid, the seller will honor the win and sell the car — it’s easier than ever for buyers to feel confident in their wholesale bidding and buying strategy. For sellers, Absolute Sale rapidly and efficiently yields more eyeballs, offers and proceeds. And that velocity generates results: after activating the feature, sellers have seen sale prices increase by an average of $500 — and for vehicles over $20,000, by an average of $1,000,” Coyle said.

Absolute Sale is available on all dealer-consigned vehicles in OPENLANE’s U.S. marketplace and can be activated by the seller during the sale day at any time after 9 a.m. ET. Vehicles launched in Absolute Sale mode indicate the seller will sell to the highest offer received that day and are featured prominently in a dedicated carousel with a special badge and timer that increase buyer visibility and engagement. Buyers can also filter for Absolute Sale vehicles, enabling them to more confidently focus their sourcing and negotiating on vehicles that sellers have committed to selling that same day.

“Our customers’ success is our success, and Absolute Sale certainly delivers on that promise,” said Shiv Dutt, SVP and president, US marketplace at OPENLANE. “Like many of our most transformative innovations, Absolute Sale had its genesis in customer conversations focused on understanding how OPENLANE can help ease persistent industry pain points. Everybody wins: buyers know their time negotiating won’t be wasted, and sellers can feel confident they’re getting the very best market value.”

Dana Mecum’s 37th Original Spring Classic concluded with more than $108 million in sales after nine days of auction action, with a total of 2,877 lots selling throughout the Indianapolis-based event held May 10-18.

This year’s event marking the fourth consecutive year that overall sales exceeded $100 million. Highlights at the live 2024 auction ranged from high-dollar vehicle transactions to celebrity appearances, unique vehicle sales and more.

The Indy auction lineup included an industry-leading variety of collector cars, featuring a wealth of bread-and-butter muscle cars, ’50s classics, high-end Ferraris and other exotics, along with countless domestic muscle cars from Corvettes and Camaros to the more obscure and unknown cult favorites. Top-selling vehicles at the Indianapolis event included a highly original 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster (Lot F152)—the last of the initial order of 100—which sold for $2.145 million. Other top muscle car sales included a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 Convertible (Lot S193) that sold for $660,000, a 1965 Shelby GT350 Fastback (Lot F147) that sold for $495,000, a licensed Eleanor tribute edition 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback (Lot S285) that brought $456,500 and a 2005 Ford GT (Lot S252) that achieved a final sale price of $423,500.

1966 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster (Lot F152)—the last of the initial order of 100—which sold for $2.145 million.

Well reflecting the success of Mecum’s past five years in business was the company’s Mecum Financial Services (MFS) arm, which presented a ceremonial check to Dana Mecum at the Indy 2024 event representing more than $150 million in MFS loads made to customers to date.

Among the most readily recognizable auction attendees in Indianapolis were Roger Penske, Rick Mears and other members of Team Penske, with Penske and Mears taking to the auction block as 17 Indy pace cars from the Penske Collection were sold to the highest bidders with all being offered at no reserve.

Two of Tesla’s Cybertrucks achieved successful sales of $134,750 and $126,500 at the Indy auction. The sales served as evidence of Mecum’s expansive market reach and as a testament to the eclectic tastes of the auction house’s extensive customer base. Another interesting sale in Indianapolis was that of a 2024 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop (Lot S243) that was built to replicate GM’s 50 millionth automobile. Finished in a flashy shade of brilliant gold and boasting various elements plated in authentic 24K gold, the multiple award winning and highly publicized car demanded a final sale price of $434,500.

Airport Auto Auction in Knoxville, Tenn., has retained TPC Management Company for strategic consulting and business development.  Airport Auto Auction is a family-owned independent auto auction that has served the remarketing community for more than 40 years. Today the auction is headed by second and third-generation owners Trent and Gabe Long.

“For over four decades our family has focused on building a solid auto auction operation based on state-of-the-art facilities, superior services and quality relationships with our dealer partners and fleet/lease customers,” said Trent Long. “We felt the timing was right to expand our business by reaching out to national institutional sellers and know that working with TPC Management will give us the best exposure to those remarketers.”

“Legacy auctions are the back-bone of our industry, and we are happy to be working with an extraordinary third-generation family-owned auction facility,” says Pierre Pons, CEO of TPC Management. “Cory Helton, Airport Auto Auction General Manager and Josh Benjamin, Fleet/Lease Manager are both seasoned auto auction veterans who demonstrate great leadership in their market, an outstanding understanding of the business, and a firm commitment to their customers. We look forward to an exciting future for their operation as they expand their relationships and visibility in the market.”

Founded in 1981 by Paul Long, Airport Auto Auction is located just off Airport Motor Mile in Alcoa, Tenn., and adjacent to the Knoxville, Tenn., airport.  The auction holds a weekly sale on six lanes every Thursday at 9:15 a.m. 

The event that began 28 years ago with Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry has moved into the 80s and 90s with Sugar Ray. McConkey Auction Group announced the iconic international headliner will perform during DAA Northwest’s July 17-18 Rock & Roll Sale. The private event for customers and guests has featured The Doobie Brothers, Heart, Barenaked Ladies, and many more on the DAA Stage.

“Sugar Ray brings a great summer vibe to this year’s Rock & Roll Sale,” says DAA Northwest’s general manager Collin McConkey. With four top 10 songs and hundreds of millions of streams, Sugar Ray has shared the stage with The Rolling Stones and KISS, has collaborated with Run-DMC, and has been interpolated by Post Malone. Rock & Roll Sale attendees will enjoy hits like “Fly,” “Every Morning,” “Someday,” and “When It’s Over” on Wednesday evening, July 17. “Sugar Ray sets the stage for our customers to come together and do business in a fun, relaxing environment,” adds McConkey.

DAA Northwest’s Wednesday evening concert will be flanked by auctions on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Tickets are required for the concert; more information can be found on the company’s website – magauctions.com/rockandroll.

Dealers Auto Auction Group announced the appointment of John Swofford as its new vice president. Swofford, an accomplished senior-vice president in the automobile auction industry, excelled in his prior role at America’s Auto Auction.  With a strong focus on operational efficiencies, staffing accountability, and safety, Swofford has demonstrated exceptional leadership and strategic acumen throughout his career.

At America’s Auto Auction, Swofford spearheaded initiatives that led to significant revenue growth, operational excellence, and the cultivation of top industry talent. His ability to build and lead high-performing teams, coupled with his skill in conflict resolution and troubleshooting, has set him apart as a self-disciplined and innovative leader in the industry.

Swofford’s track record includes overseeing the design and construction of a Greenfield site in Houston, Texas, which achieved $1 million in EBITDAR in its first full year of operation. As General Manager in Austin, Buda, Texas, Swofford significantly increased auction sales from 75 units weekly to over 500 units weekly, growing yearly EBITDAR from $75k to over $5 million. His leadership in building strong teams and implementing innovative strategies has been instrumental in driving organizational success, DAAG reported.

With experience spanning various managerial roles in the automobile auction industry, including positions at Manheim Auto Auctions, Swofford brings a diverse skill set to the table. His expertise in operations, strategic planning, revenue generation, conflict resolution, and team leadership has consistently delivered results and fostered a culture of continuous improvement.

Swofford studied at Texas Tech University and Cornell University.

“We are thrilled to welcome John Swofford to our team,’ David Andrews, CEO Dealers Auto Auction Group, stated. “His proven leadership, strategic vision, and wealth of experience in the automotive industry will undoubtedly elevate our operations. With John at the helm, we look forward to achieving new heights of success and delivering unparalleled value to our customers and clients.”

Mike Drzayich has been named the new general manager at DAA Mobile. With a commitment to innovation, customer satisfaction, and operational excellence, automotive professional Drzayich has consistently raised the bar in the wholesale automotive auction industry, the company stated in a release.

Bringing over four decades of experience, Drzayich has demonstrated unparalleled expertise in wholesale strategy, operations management, and team leadership. He is a second-generation auction professional and his journey in the auto industry has been marked by numerous achievements and accolades, solidifying his reputation as a visionary leader and industry pioneer, the release stated,

During his tenure at Kar Global (now OPENLANE), Drzayich served as fleet lease manager in Dallas, selling 50,000 cars annually for some of the largest commercial accounts in the industry. Drzayich also played a pivotal role as director of operations for KAR, where he used his field experience to drive operational efficiency and cost savings through the implementation of enterprise-wide technology initiatives.  

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike Drzayich to our team at Dealers Auto Auction of Mobile,” said David Andrews, CEO Dealers Auto Auction Group. “His wealth of experience and leadership will undoubtedly elevate our operations and drive us toward even greater success.”

ACV, a digital marketplace and data services partner for dealers and commercial clients, announced that ACV Transportation, a provider of vehicle logistics solutions, has expanded its services to include vehicles that were not purchased on the ACV platform.

ACV Transportation offers competitive pricing through a nationwide network of over 3,000 vetted, compliant and reliable carriers. These carriers are measured, incentivized and actively managed to ensure the highest level of service, quality and safety. ACV Transportation quotes every lane in the continental U.S. in real-time with firm prices and shows a live ETA and status for its customers in the app. The company has delivered over one million vehicles and delivers with a median cycle time of less than four days for moves averaging more than 400 miles.

ACV Transportation leverages artificial intelligence and data to calculate prices and match requests to the best carrier, driving enhanced efficiency and ensuring each carrier’s load board and routes are optimized.

"The mission of ACV Transportation continues to be making vehicle transportation easy and reliable for our customers, now including their vehicles that were purchased outside of our platform,” said ACV Transportation Senior Product Manager Jordan Hoeber. “By extending our services to vehicles from various sources, we're helping our dealer partners move their inventory with one provider, making the transportation process even more efficient. This expansion serves as an example of ACV’s ongoing work to provide seamless transportation solutions to the entire automotive community."

Ron Kruczynski has been named the new chief financial officer at America’s Group, the parent company of America’s Auto Auction and AXLE Funding.

Kruczynski holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Augustana College and an MBA in marketing from DePaul Driehaus College of Business. He is also a certified public accountant.

Prior to joining America’s Group, Kruczynski garnered extensive CFO experience in private equity-owned portfolio companies, including RoadSafe, Paper Source, iHeart Radio, and Highway Technologies.

“Joining America’s Group is an exciting opportunity to contribute to a dynamic team and help drive the company’s financial success,” said Kruczynski. “I look forward to collaborating with our talented team to further enhance our financial operations and support the company’s growth objectives.”

Kruczynski’s appointment is effective immediately. In his new role, he will be responsible for overseeing all financial operations of America’s Group including strategic financial planning, risk management, and performance measurement.

“We are confident that Ron’s extensive experience and strong track record will greatly benefit America’s Group,” said Chuck Tapp, chief executive officer of America’s Group. “His strategic vision, integrity, and commitment to excellence align perfectly with our mission to provide high-quality service and operational execution for our dealers and institutional customers.”

In addition to his corporate roles, Kruczynski has also dedicated his time and expertise to Servv International, a nonprofit organization that supports disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide.

Wholesale used-vehicle prices (on a mix, mileage, and seasonally adjusted basis) were down in March compared to February. The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index (MUVVI) fell to 203.1, a decline of 14.7% from a year ago. The decline in the index was driven by the seasonal adjustment, resulting in a 0.4% month-over-month decrease. The non-adjusted price in March increased by 3.1% compared to February, moving the unadjusted average price down 11.4% year over year.

“Our normal spring bump was a bit muted this year, but the wholesale market progress in terms of timing and weekly changes – it was the most normal pattern we’ve seen in some time,” said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “From a historical perspective, we typically see a 3.4% increase in March (non-seasonal) and came up with a 3.1% this year. We expect the market and prices to continue a downward trend – demand is tepid at best, as shoppers just don’t have any urgency to buy in the current economic environment.”

Assessing retail vehicle sales based on observed changes in units tracked by vAuto, Cox initially estimates that retail used-vehicle sales in March were up 6% compared to February and higher year over year by 7%. The average retail listing price for a used vehicle was flat over the last four weeks.

Using estimates of used retail days’ supply based on vAuto data, an initial assessment indicates March ended at 42 days’ supply, down five days from 47 days at the end of February but the same level as March 2023 at 42 days.

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