Some folks struggle to get back into the swing of full-time activity to begin the year, especially if they took significant time away for the holiday season.
Evidently, the wholesale market might be experiencing the same back-to-the-grind struggles, according to the latest analysis from Black Book.
Analysts indicated on Tuesday that wholesale values softened 0.68% last week, the same reading as a week earlier. Black Book did mention that the estimated average weekly sales rate improved slightly to 49% during the first week of the year.
“With the first year of 2024 now officially complete, the market is still reacting like it is on vacation,” Black Book said in its latest installment of Market Insights.
“Last week’s auction activity was still slow, particularly early in the week,” analysts continued in the report. “Now the question, will we have a spring market and if so, when will it start? In 2020, before the pandemic, the market began to gain moment as early as the third week of January.”
Whenever that momentum swing starts for 2024, Black Book offered the latest standing for both car and truck prices.
On a volume-weighted basis, Black Book said overall car values decreased 0.49%.
Analysts noted prices for models 2 years old and younger softened 0.41%, while values for cars 8 to 16 years old also declined 0.49%.
Black Book said prices for all nine car segments decreased last week, but only one segment posted a decline exceeding 1%.
Values for prestige luxury cars sustained the largest decline last week, dropping 1.90%. That doubled depreciation for those vehicles from the prior week’s decline of 0.81%.
Perhaps a hint toward the spring market and tax season, Black Book pointed out that the compact car segment “continues to report very light depreciation,” as those values ticked only 0.06% lower last week.
“This is in comparison to the large depreciation in November and early December when the segment had multiple weeks with declines exceeding 2% per week,” analysts added.
Looking at trucks, Black Book’s volume-weighted information showed overall truck segment values decreased 0.77%
Analysts said prices for 0- to 2-year-old models declined 0.66% on average, while 8- to 16-year-old trucks decreased by 0.81% on average.
While all 13 truck segments declined in value last week, Black Book acknowledged five segments sustained depreciation topping 1%.
Pacing truck declines were sub-compact luxury crossover, which had a value decline last week of 1.66%, representing the eighth week in a row those models sustained a price drop of more than 1%.
Compact vans (down 0.82%) and full-size (down 0.37%) “have slowed their rate of depreciation compared to the record setting depreciation in Q4, with some weeks exceeding 3%,” according to Black Book.
Analysts wrapped up their latest observations with more commentary about the first week of the year.
“The first week of 2024 is now in the books, with not a big change in how we finished 2023,” Black Book said. “We did see more attendees at the auction later in the week, but still seeing more If’s and no-sales in the lanes overall.
“Wholesale prices are still all over the place, sending mixed signals to both buyers and sellers who seem not quite sure what is going on with the current market,” analysts continued. “We did see a small uptick in the auction conversion rate this week, is this our first positive sign for 2024?
“As always, our team of analysts are focused on keeping their eyes on the market, watching for developing trends, and gathering insights,” Black Book went on to say.