The prices of used vehicles have been increasing steadily for the past six months but this upward pattern stopped in April, according to the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index. The index in April was at 126.1, a slight drop from 126.2 in March and is lower than the 126.6 in April 2011. The reading in April marked that for the first time in six months (since October), the index indicated a monthly drop. The index reading of 122.8 in October 2011 had been the lowest recorded in 2011.
Last May, the record index reading of 127.8 was attained. The prices of used vehicles increased because of low used-vehicle inventory and high gasoline prices, raising the demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. Some analysts had predicted in April that used-vehicle prices would follow seasonal patterns and will hit a peak in late April or during May. They will also begin to gradually drop in June. What the Manheim index measures are changes in wholesale used-vehicle prices. They’re adjusted for time of year, mileage and vehicle model mix. On the other hand, a report from CNW Marketing Research of Bandon, Ore., stated that overall used-vehicle sales increased by 40% to 3,792,604 in April compared to the previous month. It’s also 7% higher than sales in April 2011.