Used Car Wholesale Prices Continue Plunge, Gave up 59% of Pandemic Spike. But still up 35% from Jan 2020: EVs +72%, ICE Vehicles +34%

Compact trucks +70% since Jan 2020; full-size pickups +39%, SUVs +30%, compact cars +20%. Auto insurance +44% since Jan 2022.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Used vehicle prices are in a historic downward spiral, unwinding the hugest-ever price spike that had built up during the pandemic. Despite the plunge, wholesale prices of vehicles sold at auction in May were still 35% above where they’d been in January 2020, according to Manheim, the largest auto auction house in the US.

With big differences: From January 2020, EVs are still up 72%; compact pickup trucks are still up 70%; heavy-duty pickup trucks are still up 46%; but at the other end of the spectrum, compact cars are up “only” 20% and midsize cars 25%. More in a moment.

Prices of used vehicles that were sold at auctions across the US dipped 0.6%, seasonally adjusted, in May from April, to $18,048, the lowest since March 2021, and down by $5,526, or by 23%, from the peak in January 2022, according to today’s Used Vehicle Value Index by Manheim. The index is adjusted for changes in mix and mileage. Not seasonally adjusted (blue), the index fell 1.2% in May from April, to $18,612.

Year-over-year, the index fell 14% in May. Prices fell in all major vehicle categories on a year-over-year basis, according to Manheim, a division of Cox Automotive.

These auctions are where dealers buy vehicles to replenish their inventories. Supply to these auctions comes from rental fleets that sell some of the vehicles they pull out of service, from finance companies that sell their lease returns and repos, from corporate and government fleets, etc.

Since January 2020…

From January 2020 through the crazy peak at the end of 2021, auction prices had spiked by a mindboggling 66%, or by $9,443.

The historic plunge since January 2022 has surrendered 59%, or $5,526, of that $9,443 spike so far.

But since January 2020, the index is still up by 35% — and as we’ll see in a moment, with EVs, which went through the biggest bubble spike of them all, still up 72%, while compact cars up only 20%, and with everything else in between.

All data below is not seasonally adjusted.

Prices of used EVs versus ICE Vehicles since January 2020.

EVs went through a ridiculous price spike during the pandemic, when Tesla-flipping was a thing, where people bought new Teslas and then sold them for $20,000 or whatever more than they’d paid. From January 2020 through July 2022, the Manheim index for EVs that sold at auctions spiked by 146% as the automotive industry had gone nuts.

Tesla killed the Tesla-flipping business when it started cutting prices of its models in 2022.  These price cuts nearly immediately lowered the prices of used Teslas going through auction, and the hot air was being let out. EV auction prices have come down sharply, but are still up 72% from January 2020 (blue in the chart below).

Vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) also went through a crazy price spike during the pandemic, up by 64% in May 2022, a huge historic ridiculous price spike that was nevertheless dwarfed by what EVs went through. The Manheim index for ICE vehicles is up 34% from January 2020 (red):

Prices of used pickup trucks since January 2020.

Prices of compact pickups at Manheim auction had spiked by 88% from January 2020 through May 2022. But they have not come down far and are still up by a ridiculous 70% from January 2020 (red line in the chart below).

Prices of heavy-duty pickups had spiked by 78% through May 2022, and they have given up a substantial portion of that spike but are still up 46% from January 2020 (purple)

Prices of full-size light-duty trucks had shot up 68% from January 2020 through May 2021. And then they fell, but are still up 39% from January 2020 (light blue).

Prices of used compact cars, SUVs, and vans since January 2020.

Prices of vans hat spiked by 70% through May 2022, amid a shortage of new vans, when the trades and delivery firms were chasing after everything that could be used as a cargo van. It eventually ended, and wholesale prices have given up over half of that price spike. In May, they were up 32% from January 2020 (purple).

Prices of SUVs and compact SUVs had spiked 63% from January 2020 through November 2021. And then they fell and gave up over half of that spike. In May, they were up by 30% from January 2020 (light blue).

Prices of compact cars sold at auction had jumped by 56% from January 2020 through May 2022. And then they dropped. In May, there were up by “only” 20%. That we can describe a 20% increase since January 2020 with “only” shows just how nuts inflation in the auto industry had gone (red).

These charts are documenting one of the most astounding periods ever in the auto industry. It remains unclear what hat gone through people’s minds that they were willing to pay those crazy prices, rather than wait and let the prices come down. FOMO? Sure, some people were forced buyers; their vehicle may have gotten totaled, or fell apart, or they were in the trades and needed it for business. But many other people replaced a perfectly good vehicle with something else and helped fuel those price spikes.

Americans need those price drops, not just to buy a vehicle, but also to pay for insurance premiums.

Resulting in a historic spike of motor vehicle insurance premiums.

Hopefully, the downward spiral in used vehicle prices will eventually end the mega-inflation in auto insurance premiums. The CPI for auto insurance was still up by 22.6% year-over-year in April, and by 46% since January 2022, when the used vehicle price spikes (replacement values for insurers) made their way into insurance premiums.

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  92 comments for “Used Car Wholesale Prices Continue Plunge, Gave up 59% of Pandemic Spike. But still up 35% from Jan 2020: EVs +72%, ICE Vehicles +34%

  1. Salman Celik says:

    So, what are the main reasons behind the sharp decline in used car wholesale prices, and how do these reasons differ between EVs and ICE vehicles?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      The main reason behind the sharp declines is the HUGE SPIKE that must get worked off now. Consumers have had it with this getting ripped-off stuff. They’re no longer buying at those prices, and the industry has to lower them to keep selling, not rocket science.

      • Salman Celik says:

        Thanks for the explanation. It makes sense that the market is correcting after the pandemic spike. How do you see this trend evolving over the next year for both EVs and ICE vehicles?

        • Home toad says:

          I’m not a rocket scientist so let me answer you. The frying pan effect looks likely, maybe the upside down frying pan.
          Maybe housing is ready for its turn on the slippery slide.
          “Housing prices are in a historic downward spiral, unwinding the hugest ever price spike that had built up during the pandemic”.
          (These are wolf richters words, I substituted housing for used vehicles).
          Are you a robot? You sound the that robot in lost in space.

        • Carlos says:

          Home toad,

          “Housing is different. There’s no way the same price plunge seen in Commercial Real Estate in 2023 and cars this year could ever happen to housing. There’s no way there could be a repeat of 2008, which was exclusively caused by NINJA loans and evil Bear Stearns which are now gone, and not an insane market mania. Housing always goes up. There’s limited supply and unlimited demand. If anything, inflation will cause housing to stay the same, while wages increase to meet it. If housing crashes, it’ll create the next Great Depression. How dare you want housing speculators to lose their ‘retirement?’ Please, please don’t let housing crash!”

          – says the Unemployed Realtor

        • NBay says:

          That robot deserves his…track prints?….on the Hollywood walk of fame. From my kid memory he has been in so many TV shows and matinee movies he deserves it. Maybe he is.

      • Phoenix_Ikki says:

        Not to mention, last 2-3 years broke people’s brain and it’s been accepted as a god’s given rights that used car prices will never go down. Somehow asking more for a used car when dealers are marking new one below MSRP or at invoice is sane for whatever reason..

        Then there’s a factor of even used, $50-$60k for a pickup? Give me a break…

        • Salman Celik says:

          I understand your point. Clear discussion. I think the past few years have definitely shifted perceptions on used car prices. It’s really interesting how even used pickups are still so expensive. What do you think needs to happen for the market to fully stabilize?

        • BS ini says:

          Friend just bought a 3/4 ton used 2022 SLT for 66k. Knew they are 75k. A stock work truck around 50k I think. But you can buy them a couple of years ago just no trucks

      • NBay says:

        Wolf….PS, very ON-Topic

        Speaking of rip-offs. This sounds to me that if a car in Texas is hail damaged, but low miles and everything else is in perfect condition, a person (like me) couldn’t pick up CHEAP good value “modern” (milage, smog, FN electrical do-dads) transport, that is just ugly, which I and many other low wealth people could care less about.

        Texans pay a lot of HIDDEN prices for all that damned “by-God natural FREEDOM” from government, yes? Correct me if I read this wrong….thanks.

        PS; Boots logo is cute.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          But back then, when we got into a hail storm (golf balls and tennis balls), some cars were essentially beaten to death, with windows knocked out and all body panels dented and moldings knocked off. And that’s a total. But the cars next to it might only have minor damage, such as a few dents. So of several hundred cars on the lot, we sometimes had a few totals, plus dozens with relatively minor damage, and lots of cars with essentially no damage.

          So as soon as we got the insurance adjusters off the lot, we held a “Hail Sale,” using the insurance money to discount the less-damaged vehicles, and they were gone in no time. But as a franchised dealer, you cannot retail a beaten-to-death new car. That has to be sold to a salvage operator.

          But what the link was talking about, it seems, is what happens after the salvage operation gets the vehicle.

        • White.bob says:

          All it says is you can’t get a salvage/rebuilt title for a vehicle solely for hail damage. It doesn’t say you can’t buy a hail damaged vehicle. It simply won’t have a salvage title.

        • White.bob says:

          My car was totalled by a hailstorm a few years ago in Texas. The insurance company paid me then let me buy it back for $500. I still drive it with the hail damage

        • NBay says:

          Body gets most all molding thrown, bondo holes, dolly bang or suck dents as well as possible and then dull grey Rustoleum primer, as in project car. Front/Rear glass gets rubber and string trick, or just spacers and RTV. Side windows easy replace or taped and ignored till you get money. Can even drill holes and pull out even flatter any weekend, & re bondo and sand. Good long term project.
          And BRAND NEW transport is yours for almost nothing.

          How can you drive it without title to car?
          Are you the Bob White off South Park? He had questionable behavior, thoughts, too.

          I’m confused and skeptical about Texas, but that’s to be expected. I was raised CA Coastal Elite (geographically, anyway).

        • NBay says:

          PS; My comments ALL directed at Texas and Texas dealers NOW, not 30 years ago when Wolf was in it. I was happily doing my off grid thing then, and ignorant of most all else. Never even heard of Trump.

  2. hreardon says:

    I can only hope on the insurance premiums. Last year I paid $1,152 for a single car. I added a new vehicle to the stable in June, and my renewal (now for two cars) is $3,406.

    • MiTurn says:

      Yowzers! Where do you live? Downtown Chicago? I pay less on two vehicles than what you pay for one.

      I guess mine aren’t worth stealing.

      • Escierto says:

        Downtown Chicago? Try downtown San Antonio, Texas where I live and where I pay close to the same amount as hreardon for two vehicles. So much for the idea that everything is cheaper in Texas. It’s not especially when it comes to insurance of all kinds.

        • Kent says:

          Auto (and homeowner’s) insurance in Florida are the highest in the nation. To cope I only keep older used cars, keep the minimum insurance, and drive safely compared to my 25 year old self.

        • White.bob says:

          Too many unlicensed, uninsured drivers in South Texas if you know what I mean

        • NBay says:

          Yeah, I know what you mean…….poor people, and many of color.

          You ARE off South Park, know you well.

    • SoCalBeachDude says:

      Where? And what’s you driving record like?

    • IN says:

      My latest auto renewal came in at $1500+ / 6 months vs $800-900 I’ve been paying before (suburban NC). At least this is not my home insurance that has more than doubled this year.
      This is getting pretty concerning as my Progressive combined bill is now north of $5k/year with zero claims over the last 10+ years. It’s more than my property tax and HOA fees combined.

      • El Katz says:

        Many factors are impacting automobile insurance. The expensive systems and components ($1,500 headlamps for example or the complex number of sensors in a front bumper for active cruise control, cameras, etc..) and the propensity of insurance companies to total EV’s rather than fix them.

        I saw a recent analysis of a Rivian that was totaled by an insurance company… the battery cover (which, apparently is a very large piece of carbon fiber) was torn off/damaged, bending a few of the studs that secured it. The rest of the vehicle appeared to be relatively pristine. It was purchased at a salvage auction for somewhere in the neighborhood of $26K. Insurance ate the rest (if they had gap or replacement cost coverage). The technicians that evaluated the vehicle had to do a few system resets (easily done) to get all features to operate and their opinion was that the vehicle was fully functional.

        A parking lot dent is no longer a few hundred bucks. It’s thousands. Even the cost of paint is in the stratosphere, especially with the multi stage paints that are popular today.

        Regarding the “no claims” issue: imagine the increases if you DID have claims.

        Also: Newer vehicles are computers on wheels that share information with the manufacturer, many of which monetize that data by selling the it to insurance companies. That data (things like rapid acceleration, heavy braking, etc.,) is likely used by the insurer to evaluate driver behavior and risk. I turned my “data sharing” off in the master menu. The screen on the dashboard yells at me every time I start the car to turn the data sharing back on. It’s not beyond the realm of possibilities that “data sharing” can also report your exceeding the speed limit (my HUD reflects speed limit and MPH – which is derived from the GPS unit). The manufacturers will tell you that they “disclose this” to the customer in the owner’s manual. My owner’s manual on that vehicle is @ 1,000 pages. No, I haven’t read it.

        Then there’s hidden risks… like the ease of stealing certain brands of vehicles and fire risks that have nothing to do with EV’s (e.g., power seat motors overheating in Tellurides).

        It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.

        • The Real Tony says:

          In Brampton, Ontario Canada its staged fake automobile accidents to rip-off the insurance companies.

        • Ethan in NoVA says:

          They need to pay for the sheer number of television and internet ads as the few majors fight over the customer base

    • Geo says:

      A regional bias in play – I pay $2,200 for 3 cars in central NY using payroll deduction. Clean drivers record with low mileage, plus the policy is bundled with home insurance. I’m 71.

    • NBay says:

      I pay almost exactly the first number and I haven’t had so much as a parking ticket since 1985. I also can’t let anyone else drive and can’t go over 6K/yr. I may cut it even closer as it doesn’t look like my back is ever going to heal to where I can do any work on my remote off grid 40, or even drive up and check my roads and container stack. Like all old people with lower back pain from their occupations, my Doc is afraid of prescribing strong or many opiates because as a legal “learn-ed individual”, (or close term to that) HE gets in trouble, not the drug companies. Also because of the political climate on overdose deaths. They fail to see people in hopeless situations do these things…..or are paid to not think that way.
      FN Sacklers ruined much of this country and got (for them) richer and a hand slap.
      Love that American Dream, eh?

      • NBay says:

        I pay about what hreardon does….

        these REALLY weird screen names make spell check a REAL pain in the ass. But then maybe it tries to improve on mine……not that I get much more than admonishments from Wolf……nor do I care to or care about many of the wealthy boomers here and their successes/non-problems, or opinions.
        I do more sociology than econ, except for the articles.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          I always copy-and-paste screen names.

          Even commenters get their own screen names wrong, and then the comment ends up in moderation, LOL

        • NBay says:

          You taught me to copy and paste long ago, (and also maybe regret it sometimes). I didn’t know I could do it here too……on the fly so to speak.

  3. Phoenix_Ikki says:

    It’s always interesting to see the disconnect between people’s behavior/stubbornness and draw a conclusion about the market but in the meantime you look at real data and see the trend is actually opposite.

    Case in point, FB market place has always been a good mine in good laughs when it comes to used car pricing…$52k for a used Civic Type R or more than new MSRP pricing for a used Corvette C8 (while dealers are marking down used and new) shows you how delusional people are when it comes to asking price…probably a lasting hang over from last couple of years of easy money..

    • Fast Eddie says:

      C8?! A few months ago Wolfstreet had sidebar ads for used cars; there was a 2015 C7 LT1 (that’s the base model) with some miles (i.e. not a 8,000 mile garage queen) that was priced ABOVE the original list price. Yup, asking more for an 8 year old car than it was when it was new.

    • MM says:

      Ya that guy is delusional. I was seeing used FK8 CTR prices in the $30-35k range lately.

    • Bobrot says:

      The problem is that people get the delusional prices by others who are unwilling to do some simple homework. As each of my children go through high school (pretty wide age spread between them), I purchase them a modest car that will end my chauffeur duties and hopefully last them through their college dreams. I’ve talked to many a seller who dream of selling their car overpriced. Problem is, they aren’t educated on their car’s worth (latest was talking to someone that thought they had the turbo version of a VW Bug and they did not) and neither are most of the buyers, so they get the price they want instead of the price they should.

    • El Katz says:

      The Type R is a limited supply vehicle. Plus the seller is likely hocked up to his ya ya in it and is trying to hand off the problem to some unsuspecting greater fool.

      Facebook marketplace? Man you’re brave! I’m sure they want a deposit in Amazon gift cards just to test drive it. Too bad the title is fake.

      • MM says:

        Right, if I’m going to buy a CTR I’d want it bone stock. I’ll do the mods myself – that’s the fun part.

  4. Phoenix_Ikki says:

    I have a feeling that MSM and rate cut believers will only take the first part of this headline to blast about inflation is coming down, rate cut is right around the corner….argh..

    “Used Car Wholesale Prices Continue Plunge, Gave up 59% of Pandemic Spike”

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Durable goods inflation has been negative for well over a year. But services are the driver now, for example, see the chart above about insurance premiums being up 22% year-over-year and 46% since Jan 2022. That’s the kind of stuff that’s pushing inflation now — a nightmare for the Fed because consumers cannot easily say no to essential services, when they’re overpriced, as they finally did with used vehicles.

      • Phoenix_Ikki says:

        Yup understood that from your previous articles. I am just sayin MSM will use anything they can muster up to continue to drum up the rate cut is coming talking point

        • Home toad says:

          Giving up 59% of pandemic price spike. That like saying the vampire now sucks blood only on the weekends instead of everyday.
          Or put another way, prices of used vehicles since the pandemic have risen a astounding 41%, the long tooth weekend car salesman is looking for a meal and a deal.

        • Home toad says:

          I put that wrong. Since the pandemic, the used car market is still holding onto 41% of its price spike.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        “consumers cannot easily say no to essential services, when they’re overpriced”

        The Swamp has been saying this for the past year. Every essential service that I buy is up by more than double digits. Some, like auto/homeowners ins are up 20%. No claims or tickets except a large homeowners claim for something that was not my fault. This added $250 to my premiums.

  5. Nyguy says:

    Historic reversion to mean, yawn.

    • cas127 says:

      1) But the paint huffing behind irrational spikes matters.

      2) As does the duration of the delusion.

      I agree that an ultimate regression to the mean tends to be pretty predictable…but it is worthwhile to inquire into the pathologies behind the initiating spikes.

      For instance…why have equities been clearly (*clearly*) over-valued for about…8 *years* (including an unZIRP that should have gutted it) and when will *that* regression to the mean actually start?

      And why (“yawn”) has the auto spike only *partially* unwound by now?

      Those are all questions worth thinking about.

  6. MiTurn says:

    Yay on prices coming down. I only buy used, usually two or three years old. I am going to buy this summer.

    Watching Craigslist closely….

  7. Frank says:

    New sales were down over the past couple years. I’m surprised that this loss of these vehicles in the market did not further support used prices. Don’t we have thousands of fewer vehicles on the road due to production limitations during COVID? Even after production resumed, truck sales appear to have stalled due to high prices.

  8. SoCalBeachDude says:

    If anything, used car prices on BAT are increasing substantially especially on any cars worth owning these days.

    • bulfinch says:

      Actual sold prices? Plus, what’re you referencing — rare/restored automotive masterpieces or used Nissan Sentras?

      • SoCalBeachDude says:

        Final auction prices of cars that sold are what I am referring to and I’m mainly looking at BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and other excellent interesting cars in automotive history.

  9. Kracow says:

    Friend is gm of a Porsche dealership people are coming in to trade in cars upwards of 30k underwater…

    Last week at lunch told me of some guy that was 70k under in a taycan in less than a year lol.

    • KGC says:

      I’d like to see an analysis of used prices as a percentage of MSRP or original sales price. Something that would show if cheap cars are retaining more value vs. premium models? I know some expensive cars have drastic devaluation (or used to), but I’ve never seen how that plays out like the above graphs.

    • Historian says:

      Taycans will be given away to you if you buy a Big Mac quite soon, nobody wants them and they are cluttering up dealers yards world wide.

      • El Katz says:

        Yeah. People are coming out of the ether when they see the replacement cost of the Taycan battery pack…..

  10. VIII says:

    The used vehicle market is fundamentally altered. By some estimates, 10 million fewer vehicles were manufactured during the pandemic, so the supply of used vehicles is relatively limited. Thus used prices are ~80% of original rather than historically ~64%.

    I just bought a new vehicle, because the price difference between a 2-3 year old used and the brand new was ~17-19%. I had fully intended on buying a used vehicle, but once you factored in mileage, warranty, partially consumed consumables (tires/brakes/rotors), the difference between new and used was negligible.

    • Ryan says:

      I think you have to look at supply in tandem with demand though. Much like with housing it’s months of supply, with cars its market days supply. Nominal values of inventory don’t tell the full story…..

      • El Katz says:

        The situation is vaguely reminiscent of the “Cash for Clunkers” debacle, when millions of usable vehicles were crushed, inflating the cost of the remaining supply. The only difference is that, presently, these units were never built.

        Market day’s supply can fool you, especially on low volume vehicles.

  11. New Car Smell says:

    Sent you a benji. Hope you got it.

    I am still pissed off by the mark-ups from these dealers during covid.
    The “pay it or go f*** yourself attitude” of the salespeople. I fixed up my old car, just enough to drive into the ground.

    Now, I am looking for a new car. I am really going to enjoy this by going full cheap-ass mode. Let them chase me back to my car when I turn to leave. I pay in cash, so I do not care about interest rates or financing (unless it is 0% for 60 months kind of deal).

  12. Chris from Texas says:

    These prices are insane!

    Wolf, do you have any data comparing the median salary to the median price of vehicles over the last 55 years since before the oil shock in the ’70s?

    Am I just getting too old and being too price conscious without realizing that the increase in vehicle prices is mostly offset by rising wages?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      There are affordability measures for new vehicles, but they include a factor for interest rates. New vehicles have gotten way too expensive for too many Americans. You can see the results in unit sales, which haven’t moved in three decades despite a growing population. Automakers have increased their revenues by just selling fewer but more expensive vehicles.

      • CCCB says:

        “New vehicles have gotten way too expensive for too many Americans.”

        And yet they keep paying substantially higher prices for cars, just as they do for housing, insurance, medical care and most other services.

        There must be lots of new money coming from somewhere and folks must be doing much better financially than before or this wouldnt be the case.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          “And yet they keep paying substantially higher prices for cars,”

          More and more people don’t, as you can see from the chart of annual unit sales, in a country with a growing population. This chart is total sales, and it includes the big rental fleets that buy millions of vehicles a year. Just retail sales, it looks even worse.

        • JimL says:



          I think most Americans are waking up to the fact that buying a vehicle that drops significantly in value the moment they drive it off the lot is no longer worth it.

          The thing is, even 10 or 12 year old vehicles that are properly maintained are still fine for driving in today’s environment. Given proper care and maintenance (which is cheaper than a new vehicle), a moderately old car is just fine as a means of transportation.

          There is no incentive to buy anything newer when their car js doing just fine.

          Even $3000 per year in maintenance IA cheaper than buying a newer (ish) car and dealing with the depreciation.

  13. Geriatric says:

    Part of the reasons for the very high insurance rates is the very complex electronics in new vehicles, demanded by younger buyers, that require skilled, well qualified engineers to repair correctly. Anything battery related in particular, as new ones will still be coming from China for a long time. Going Green is something that has to be paid for in unexpected ways and can’t be complained about.

    • Ethan in Nova says:

      The parts are physically cheap. Car companies make it expensive to repair used cars by marking up part prices and tools. Always been that way.

  14. Swamp Creature says:

    ” New vehicles have gotten way too expensive for too many Americans. ”

    Yep, I was forced to buy a new vehicle as my 2000 Toyota was totalled in a hit & run accident. Settled on a no frills 2020 Mitsibushi Mirage, for $11,500. It’s hard to find a car now without all that electronic crap that you don’t want.

    • MM says:

      “It’s hard to find a car now without all that electronic crap that you don’t want.”

      That’s why I’m never giving up my 2011.

      • Paul says:

        Absolutely agree, my 2011 Honda Element will get buried with me. I have lost all faith in the auto dealers, much less the manufactures.

      • Hubberts Curve says:

        Two things tend to spoil peoples plans to keep a car forever. The first is that they get in to a minor accident and the insurance company totals the car because the cost to repair is. more than the value of the car.
        The second is that an otherwise reliable car needs an important part to continue running and that part is out of production and unavailable, which can happen any time with a car beyond the 10 year mark. Notice how quickly all the Saturns disappeared from the road once parts were no longer available.

        • MM says:

          “minor accident and the insurance company totals”

          That happened with my 2003 Acura TL, which I’d still be driving today if it weren’t totaled in 2018.

          “otherwise reliable car needs an important part to continue running and that part is out of production”

          My current car (RDX) seems to use mostly standard Honda parts – a good chunk of which are shared with the Accord and CR-V. I’m thankful for this.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          …another aspect of throttling replacement-part supply comes from an OEM basic platform lifecycle-the shorter it is, the less economically-feasible it becomes for the aftermarket competition…

          may we all find a better day.

        • Cookdoggie says:

          “ Two things tend to spoil peoples plans to keep a car forever.”

          In my case there’s a third thing: the wife is bored of the current car. We pick up the new computer on wheels this weekend. I also will have my first stroke when I call the insurance company later that day.

          Sorry all, we paid MSRP. I’m too old, rich and tired to haggle.

  15. Desert Dweller says:

    “It remains unclear what hat gone through people’s minds that they were willing to pay those crazy prices, rather than wait and let the prices come down. FOMO?”

    I know a couple of people who purchased very expensive pickup trucks during the pandemic. Not only did they purchase a top-of-the-line model, they paid over list price by many thousands. Why? They did it to show off how much money they have and the fact they could get a new vehicle when it was difficult to impossible for others to do the same.

    • bulfinch says:

      The hope is that this Homer Simpson-ish exercise in material ostentation conferred upon them all of the regard they were starved of as children from their absentee parents.

      “…this truck’ll win her back.”

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      DD – …ostentation has always been a high-proof spirit…

      may we all find a better day.

  16. The Big Guy says:

    It makes sense to me that the number of vehicles sold has remained stagnant over time. As much as people like to gripe about how complex and difficult to service new vehicles are, the fact is that their average lifespan continues to increase. I don’t know how to find the data, but my guess would be that the number of registered vehicles continues to grow with the population as expected, but because vehicles are lasting longer, the number of new vehicles needed each year is less than the number of new drivers minted each year.

    When I first started driving (many) years ago, if someone was driving a vehicle as old as they were, it was considered some kind of miracle (at least here in the rust belt), but now it’s fairly common. The newest vehicle in my fleet is 14 years old and it is still in great shape and that is a vehicle that has spent it’s entire life in the rust belt.

    • MoreCreativeMatt says:

      Odometers on most American cars had only five digits into the 1990s. There was a reason you didn’t need more.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Because the odometers conked out before you got there? The odometer of my 68 Mustang was stuck at just over 70,000 miles when I bought it in 1976, and the speedometer needle just bounced up and down without indicating a speed. There was a long list of things that didn’t work anymore or had fallen off, or kept falling off (clutch linkage, LOL), or was leaking (windows, carb, oil), but it still ran, which was the main thing. Those cars were unimaginable POS and deathtraps. Vehicles have gotten immeasurably better, thank God.

    • JimL says:

      The average age of the outstan6cars in North America is increasing.

      It is for the reasons you cite. There is no reason to buy a new vehicle. For an equivalent price your current vehicle will do just fine.

  17. Space Cowboy says:

    Service/repair of used vehicles continue to escalate.

    22 year old Highlander: $4.5k for top end (11mm Toyota head bolts issue), plus new hoses/radiator, timing cover reseal.
    24 year old 2wd Silverado 1500: $2.2k front suspension replacement
    Avg Ford SD brake job: $2.5k for 4 brake pads/calipers/rotors.
    Massive amt of [auto] HVAC work (AC compressor replacement starts @$1k)

    Shop charges $130 per hour. Avg dealer is $200+ hr.

    2-3 weeks wait time to get in.

    No position (other than they’ve maintained my 24 year old S10
    for 381k miles on original engine. 21mpg & 1qt oil consumption every 3k oil change).

    Note: Many of the new service parts sold (after market) are failing
    from poor quality (China) mfg.

    Addendum – Local mega CDJR store stacked to the gills with new iron.
    Tesla store (across the street) is also stacked with new iron & parking overflow inventory down the street in an old Kmart (now church) parking lot.

    Happy Motoring…………

    • MM says:

      >Every 3k oil change

      And I thought I was nuts for doing my oil every 5k.

      • Space Cowboy says:

        “Dino” oil change @3k, not synthetic.

        Petroleum oil of choice (older engine) is 10/30
        or 15/40 Delo/Rotella [Diesel) oil which contains
        trace minerals that were stripped out of
        ‘modern oils’ for emissions.

        Synthetic oil can easily go 10k between changes (IF
        using a top grade filter: Mobil 1/K&N/Wix/Baldwin/ect. jmho)
        Step-up and use a top grade oil & filter, not the cheap crap
        bargain oil change centers push.

        Preferred (premiums) oil: Amzol/Castrol/Penngrade1/Liqui moly/Royal Purple ($$$ cost) for high output platforms like BMW/Daimler/Porsche , ect. All oil’s are NOT the same.

        Brake fluids flush every 2-3 years, auto trans flush every 75k (use factory ATF), Replace all rubber (brake, coolant) hoses at five years. Fluids are inexpensive compared to down-time.

        You’re not nuts! Just prudent & pragmatic
        Same methodology of maintenance I learned from four decades
        of air fright (not misspelled) and business jet operations.

        Levels of aviation operations: “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate, Administrate, Litigate.” – unknown

        • MM says:

          I do oil every 5k and oil+filter every 10k. Kirkland brand 5W-30 full synthetic (read good things about it and much cheaper than Mobil 1). STP for the oil filter – are they not high end?

          Maintenance minder says to do oil every 7.5k and filter every 15k, but I’m making about 50hp over stock so I’d rather treat the engine to more frequent fresh oil.

          Trans fluid, power steering, transfer case, & rear diff all replaced @ 30k. Trans flush is 3×3 to get all the old stuff out of the torque converter. Brake fluid every year, brakes every 50k.

          Recently replaced all the factory stock rubber hoses on the boost lines.

          If I get 20 years and 300k miles out of this car I’ll be happy.

      • Depth Charge says:

        3k oil changes are completely unnecessary not only due to today’s oils, but because of fuel injection. Back during the days of carburetors, there was a lot of fuel dilution in the oil which made it necessary to change more frequently to avoid washing the bearings down.

        5k is plenty frequent. Most new cars are calling for up to 10k, diesels 15k. I send oil samples to Blackstone lab periodically to check engine and oil health. I’ve never had a report where the oil was degraded. That being said, I never run any engine over 10k.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          DC…still, many like the feel of belt AND braces. More frequent oil service on older-generation, less precision-machined powertrains may not be out of order (Space, sounds like you may have a 4.3 Vortec (at heart, a small-block Chev V8 with two cyls sawn off) like I have in my 200k ’03. The GM OEM-specified S10 oil/filter change is every 3k-in this small sample, at least, it seems to help them roll on with low oil consumption and good compression…).

          may we all find a better day.

  18. Depth Charge says:

    This price spike was simply not possible without the loose lending from banks and other lenders. 175% loan to value on a depreciating asset should be criminal, yet that’s what they were doing. That’s how you get prices so divorced from reality.

  19. Inflation Termites says:

    2007 Chevy Silverado 200,000 miles currently using Valvoline 5W30 high mileage oil synthetic blend (150,000 mi.) this stuff has liquid moly and added protection. I change it every 3000 miles. No leaks, no lifter tick, no burning oil. I also use a bottle of Techron High Mileage in gas tank every 6 months. Original motor and transmission, will run it failure. GM AFM/DFM lifter failure’s are epic on new models, don’t want to pay $60k for brand new lemon, my new drove his 800 miles went to the shop 3 times for repairs, GM told him it needed new engine 8 months to repair. He gave it back to them, taking $1,000 loss.

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