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Large used utility vehicles lost value fast

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Staff Writer | January 19, 2017
A recent report by J.D. Power analysts notes December wholesale prices of vehicles up to eight years in age slowed by an average of 1.7 percent versus November.
Used SUV
Auto industry   Best and worst value retaining used vehicle segments
The reason for the above average slowdown? J.D. power points to higher supply and escalating incentives as the main decelerators.

As a result of the price pullbacks, analysts at J.D. Power Valuation Services — who manage the NADA Used Car Guide seasonally adjusted used vehicle price index — note the used vehicle index fell by 1.4 percent to 114 points.

Dropping 3.6 percent from November, large utility prices suffered the biggest decline in the used vehicle market last month.

Prices for the group have now fallen by an average of 3 percent per month since September, which is by far the softest four-month stretch experienced by the segment since late 2014 (segment depreciation averaged just over 1 percent through the period last year).

While depreciation grew for every segment across the board in 2016, car losses were generally much higher than trucks and utilities.

Depreciation for the anemic subcompact car segment reached an industry-high 26 percent in 2016, up 6-percentage points from 2015

In other terms, the average subcompact car lost more than a quarter of its 2015 wholesale value last year.

Depreciation for other car segments—both mainstream and luxury—grew from 17 percent in 2015, to 20 percent in 2016.

In absolute terms, most truck-based segments outperformed their car counterparts as mainstream truck depreciation ranged from an industry-low 8 percent (large pickups) to 16 percent (compact utilities).

Coinciding with the steady stream of tax refund checks, used vehicle prices typically improve over a given first quarter before falling off as spring progresses.

Analysts at J.D. Power Valuation Services forecast the first quarter of 2017 will see prices of vehicles up to eight years old falling 1 percent versus December 2016, then improving in both February and March.

Mainstream car prices are expected to increase the most through March 2017, rising by an average of 3.5 percent.