Galves Auto Price List’s 2009 Year in Review

Well, it has certainly been a crazy year. Actually two crazy years if we include 2008. We ended 2008 and began 2009 with a market that was severely distorted, first by a severe spike in the cost of fuel (remember $4 gasoline) and then by a financial crisis. The end result was a collapse of full size cars, trucks, and SUVs and a severe softening of just about everything else. Remember when Honda CRV’s were worth more than Chevy Tahoes? When a Toyota Prius was worth thousands more than the same year Cadillac DTS? That was just about a year ago. Since then we have seen an unprecedented market where vehicles strengthened consistently, not just in what we would consider the spring market where such strengthening wouldn’t be so unusual, but throughout the summer and fall as well when vehicles ‘always’ soften considerably. I emphasize always. I have been in the wholesale vehicle business in one capacity or another for 40 years and I have never seen a summer and fall where vehicles got stronger rather than weaker. Until 2009.


By using the ‘Historical Values’ section of, it‘s easy to substantiate the fact that most vehicles actually appreciated from the beginning of 2009 to the present.  For example:



Jan '08

Dec '08

Nov '09

2006 Chevy Tahoe LS 




2006 Cadillac DTS




2007 Town Car Sig. Ltd. 




2006 Durango SLT




2006 Dodge Charger R/T




2006 Ford F150 FX4  




2006 Honda CRV EX 4WD




2006 Mercedes E350




2006 Lexus GX470




Of course what happened was that at the end of 2008 many vehicles were way undervalued due to the gas price spike and the subsequent financial crisis. A look at the previous examples’ depreciation from the beginning of 2008 to the end of 2008 tells the story. The Tahoe went from $18,600 to $12,100 over the course of the year, the Caddy DTS from $24,200 to $14,100, the Town Car from $20,500 to $13,800. The Mercedes from $30,800 to $19,200. You get the idea. In September of 2008 an ‘07 Toyota Prius was worth about $5,000 more than a 2007 Cadillac DTS. I think that about says it all. Crazy years!


I think most of us preferred 2009. For much of the year it has been difficult to find vehicles, but they tended to be very sellable. Most of 2008 was just the opposite. Vehicles were readily available, but selling them was pretty much a crapshoot.


What the market will bring in 2010 remains to be seen. I personally think that there will continue to be a relatively low supply of vehicles as well as a relatively low demand. I think that will produce a much more normal market, probably a reasonably good spring market followed by slower than normal declines throughout the summer. Beyond that, who knows? It should be interesting. Probably not as interesting as the past two years, but I think we’ve all had enough excitement for a while.