According to Manheim Consulting, Wholesale used vehicle prices (on a mix-, mileage-, and seasonally adjusted basis) rose 1.2% in December. With the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index closing out the year at 124.1, the year-over-year decline was reduced to a modest 0.8%. On an annual average basis, the decline in the Manheim Index was 1.0%.
The trend in wholesale pricing during 2012 consisted of a relatively flat first quarter, followed by declines in the second and third quarter, and then a strong upward rally in the fourth quarter. It is not a pure coincidence that this was the same pattern exhibited by other major economic variables, such as employment, retail sales, and consumer confidence, each of which also slowed in the middle part of last year. The strong rise in wholesale used vehicle prices in the fourth quarter was also a byproduct of the smooth model year transition in the new vehicle market as well as the reduced supply and increased demand created by Hurricane Sandy.
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