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According to Black Book® data, used vehicles model years 2008-2012 overall depreciated -0.3% in March, showing continued strength in seasonal retention compared to the -1.1% rate in February. Domestic cars gained in value by +0.7%; import cars depreciated -0.6%; domestic trucks gained in value by +0.6%; and import trucks depreciated -0.8%. Average pre-recession depreciation is historically between -1% and -2% monthly, and Black Book expects overall 2014 depreciation of -13.5%.
March is typically among the strongest months for vehicle value retention due to the tax-buying season, and overall monthly depreciation during the same period last year showed just -0.2% across all vehicle segments. Black Book believes this year’s harsh winter will push certain seasonal sales into April.
Entry-Level Cars led all segments with the strongest monthly retention, gaining +2.6% of value, and Cargo Minivans led all truck segments by gaining +1.7% of value during March.
Entry-Level Cars finished March with an average wholesale value of $7,491, a -15.9% change from year-ago levels ($8,912). Vehicles in this segment include the Chevrolet Aveo, Honda Fit, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris.
Prestige Luxury Cars led all segments with the highest monthly depreciation during March (-2.1%). Vehicles in this segment include the BMW 7-Series, Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus GS Class, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Jaguar XJ.
Luxury SUVs led all truck segments with the highest monthly depreciation changing -1.3% in March. Vehicles in this segment include the Cadillac Escalade, Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover LR3 and LR4, Lincoln Navigator and BMW X5.
To illustrate the strong retention experienced in March, just three of the twenty-four overall segments depreciated higher than -1.0% on the month: Prestige Luxury Cars (-2.1%), Luxury SUVs (-1.3%), and Luxury-Level Cars (-1.1%). The remaining twenty-one segments saw depreciation of -0.8% or less on the month.
“The buying season has kicked into high gear, particularly for those segments that average near $10,000 that are in high demand,” said Ricky Beggs, Editorial Director at Black Book. “Smaller car segments will continue to see near-term strength until late spring, when demand for these vehicles lightens and follows familiar seasonal patterns.”