What commercial consignor side of wholesale car market looked like in late 2022

Perhaps some of the topsy-turvy used-car trends that commercial consignors have dealt with the past couple years have drawn to a close.

AutoIMS sorts that out in its Industry View report for the fourth quarter of 2022, while also emphasizing that “time is of the essence.”

The report, released quarterly, is a “compendium of metrics featured in the AutoIMS Sales Scorecard that reflects the AutoIMS database (with a few needed exclusions) — a vast majority of the commercial sales volume at wholesale auto auctions in North America.”

Here’s how some of the stats shake out in the AutoIMS data set.

Average conversion rates in the fourth quarter (58.86%) were down from the prior-year period (68.33%), but they edged upward in the final month of the year toward the 2022 average, which was just north of 60%.

Wholesale vehicle sales volumes were up on a year-over-year basis for most of the second half of the year, the report shows. In November, for instance, volumes were up more than 20% from 2021, and December’s gain was more than 10%.

The average sale price for Q4 came in at $14,345.07, down from $16,351.47, AutoIMS data shows.

A graph in the report shows the back half of the year with average sale prices below the 2022 average, which was under $16,000.

The report shows that the gross sales price as a percent of floor price in Q4 (96.9%) was down from a year ago (100.6%). The second half of the year remained below the annual average of just under 98%.

“The drop in average sale price was significant in Q4. Cooling inflation, higher car payments, increased delinquencies perhaps a return to earth in terms of supply and demand,” AutoIMS said in the analysis section of the report.

“Economists likely aren’t surprised, but what about remarketers?” the company continued. “Floor prices were consistently on the high (hopeful) side during 2022 and consignors are re-thinking their predictive analytics and priorities of selling for speed vs. price during this economic pendulum swing. Good news is the vehicle demographics (grade, year, mileage, etc.) continue to level out.”

Looking at some of those demographics, we go next to average vehicle condition report grades. The first four months of 2022 showed average CR grades that were lower year-over-year.

But starting in May, average CR grades remained above year-ago levels for the rest of 2022. In Q4, the average CR grade was 2.91, compared to 2.86 in Q4 2021.

Average model year remained ahead of 2021 levels the entire year, with the gap only widening as the year wore on. For Q4, the average model year of vehicle sold was 2015.9, up from 2014.7 in the prior-year period.

Meantime, the year-over-year gap in mileage did the opposite, narrowing to near-parity.

In the beginning of 2022, average mileage on vehicles sold was just below 90,000, and would stay at that range for the whole year, basically.

In 2021, however, average mileage started below 80,000 and would climb above 90,000 to finish the year, according to AutoIMS.

Average damage estimates, meanwhile, are going up.

At the beginning of 2021, they were just above $1,600, the data shows. They have risen most months since then, nearly reaching $2,600 by the end of 2022.

Lastly, average days from assigned to secured (which is the total days from auction arrival to sale) was at 5.2 days in the fourth quarter, up from 4.3 a year ago.

Average days secured to sold (total timeline from auction arrival to sale) climbed from 25.1 in Q4 2021 to 28.1 last quarter.

“Time is of the essence. 2022 brought a three-day increase in days to sell,” AutoIMS emphasized. “Higher volumes, fewer staff, high retention expectations, and more are all driving cycle times.”

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