Used Cars Are Costing Dealers More, but This Can Still Be Your Summer of Deals

  • The wholesale price of used vehicles, the prices generally paid by dealers at auctions, fell steeply when the coronavirus-related shutdowns began, but since then, they have jumped above pre-pandemic forecasts.
  • Nonetheless, the retail price, or the price paid by consumers, of used vehicles has remained fairly flat.
  • The used-vehicle market’s landscape could change greatly in the coming months when a lot of cars with leases extended during the pandemic come back to dealerships, and also if a cash-for-clunkers program comes to fruition.

    While states across the country issued stay-at-home orders to combat the spread of COVID-19, the used-car market shuddered as the flow of used vehicles to dealer lots was disrupted. Wholesale used-car values, or the prices paid by dealers, fell 11.3 percent from March to April, according to the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index.

    Yet, after hitting a low in April, values have recovered 13.9 percent through mid-June,

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