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THE average dealer asking price for used cars has broken through the $40,000 barrier, according to data  released by Cox Automotive Australia’s data solutions division, but dealers are now having to give more away to complete their sales.

The July data released by Cox’s used-car intelligence tool, AutoRadar, shows that in July the average asking price when dealers first list their cars for sale rose from $39,279 in June to $40,005.  This is a 24 per cent increase on the average listing price of $32,073 a year ago and compares with an average listing price of $26,658 in July 2020.

But indicative average transaction prices are not keeping up with dealers’ expectations.

The Cox Automotive data also tracks the prices of used cars when they are delisted as an indicator of the transaction price and the July numbers are showing a larger gap between listing prices (what dealers were hoping for) and the indicative actual transaction prices (delisting price).

In July the average delisting (indicative sale) price was $35,529. This was down slightly on the average delisting price of $36,135 in June. But the gap between dealer listing price and indicative transaction price has grown to a record $4476, topping the previous all-time high gap of $3983 in May 2020 when dealers were frantically quitting used cars at the onset of COVID.

In October last year the gap was just $153.

In terms of volume, newly-added used vehicles in July totalled 44,127 units – a 4.8 per cent decrease in newly added vehicles listed online for sale compared to June 2022.

Compared to the same period last year, the number of added used vehicles decreased by 4.6 per cent from July 2021 to July 2022.

Active used vehicles listed for sale totalled 81,101 units. This was a 2.4 per cent increase in active listings in July 2022 compared to the previous month. 

 

Compared to July last year, the number of active listings in July 2022 increased by 1.7 per cent.

Commenting on the numbers, the general manager of retail and data at Cox Automotive Australia Michael Clarke told GoAutoNews Premium: “While the data continues to suggest the market is plateauing, inventory constraints will continue to keep the market buoyant for some time to come.  

“What is becoming more apparent, is not only the need to acquire stock more strategically but a growing focus on having more diversified acquisition and disposal channels to call on. 

“Not all cars work for all yards, so our more innovative dealerships are looking to diversify their acquisition strategy and supplement that with strong disposal networks to cast the net wider to a broader audience, ” Mr Clarke said. 

“This creates an opportunity to acquire ideal vehicles, based on dealers stock matrix, or insights tools, as well as potentially create a wholesale earn for those deemed less desirable,” he said.

“Additionally, stock disposal strategies will de-risk businesses as the market does start to detract and mitigate any future losses.  

“A diverse disposal strategy needs to include live auctions as well as internal and external tenders and, with the rise of digital, this can all be achieved without the inventory ever leaving their premises, further streamlining the process, maximising the wholesale value and reducing additional handling and costs.

On the auction side of the market, where price support is an early indicator for dealers of the strength of used car values, the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index for July was 167.4 per cent of the index (which began in January 2006) almost steady on the number in June of 167.0. 

This was down slightly from May which was 171 per cent and compares with the April number at 167 per cent and the all-time high in March of 178 per cent.

So far this year, the index has been averaging 170 per cent compared with the average for all of 2021, which came in at 153 per cent.  

The Manheim Index confirms the recent trend that indicates that while used-car prices at auction remain at record levels, the market is continuing to hesitate to push auction values for wholesale used cars even higher.

By John Mellor

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