Last updated Tuesday,  April 6, 2004

"Ditto"....what we said for March applies to the market in April. There is still a severe shortage of vehicles in the marketplace primarily due to slow new vehicle sales and a consequent lack of trade-ins. Used vehicle retail sales continue to be spotty and we sometimes wonder when the market will soften as a result, but so far there has been no sign of that. Good vehicles with good miles are at a premium and it would be hard to overpay for one as a trade-in or purchase. Sport coupes and convertibles are hot. In particular Mustang GTs, BMW 3-series and Mercedes CLK Cabs are showing exceptional strength.

If there is a caveat, it continues to be the medium mileage high-end vehicles – things like S-class and E-class Mercedes and BMW 7-series and 5-series - that are generally available in the marketplace and those vehicles that continue to flood the market as lease terminations.

Domestic vehicles with lower than “book” mileage are bringing a premium, while those with more normal mileage are holding their own.

Some of the high-end SUVs such as BMW X5s, Mercedes MLs, and Lexus RXs are readily available and seem to be showing signs of softening. In fact, MLs have come down significantly in the past few months and the X5s and RXs look as if they may follow the pattern. They sold a bunch of them and they are beginning to be plentiful. Equipment and color become increasingly important under such conditions. An RX300 with navigation, for instance, is rare and will bring significantly more than its less well-equipped brethren. Pick-ups are relatively scarce and continue to do well.

Older vehicles that stand out in terms of condition are in demand and doing well. Picky ones, on the other hand, are a different story and have few takers unless they are particularly desirable.

All in all this is a typical spring market for those times when vehicles are scarce.

Dan Galves