Used car supply remains under pressure in November, as high new vehicle prices force many consumers to wait on their next purchase.
According to Cox Automotive, dealers started the month with a total used car supply of 2.3 million units, up slightly from the beginning of October but down 4% from last November. Days’ supply averaged 49 days, unchanged month-over-month but falling five days from the prior-year period. While these shifts were only slight, they highlight the current unpredictable trajectory of the preowned segment.
Apart from an inconsistent used car supply, dealers are also experiencing variations in pricing. At the start of the month, listing prices for preowned vehicles averaged $26,533, down $219 from early October and $623 from the close of November 2022. While some analysts had expected used car prices to rise due to the United Auto Workers strike, the union aimed to damage OEM revenue more than hinder production, allowing inventory to remain relatively stable. This prevented the windfall that some preowned retailers had hoped for, although the resulting month-over-month decline in supply and pricing proved to be marginal at worst.
In 2022, the nation’s used car supply was constrained due to production disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, a factor that also led to heavy price inflation in the segment. However, 2023 has seen manufacturing recover at a faster pace than expected. While this should have allowed more used vehicles to go on sale, prices remain elevated, forcing many would-be car buyers to wait another year for their next purchase. Demand for preowned models has also weakened thanks to the return of new vehicle inventory. Going forward, dealers will need to closely follow trends in the segment to ensure they are prepared for the holiday season and beyond.