Last updated Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I hate being redundant, but conditions continue to be very much as they have been for the past several months: that is to say, the market continues to be dominated by a shortage of the right kinds of vehicles and anything that fits into the “right” category is very strong and the rest of the market is just OK. If there has been any change in the past month it might that there is slightly less activity in general as the lack of retail business is perhaps beginning to catch up with the short supply of desirable cars and trucks.

European luxury cars continue to be among the most sluggish of the market segments. They are generally available both new and used and there is no great demand for them unless they are particularly unusual for some reason. Mercedes S-class 4matics, for instance, are still somewhat scarce and create much more traffic than their 2-wheel drive counterparts. Some of the BMW products, 3s and 5s particularly, have suffered from an abundance of lease returns.

Full-size domestic SUVs have had something of a comeback over the past couple of months and that has been reflected in the book pricing. We are suggesting some caution with those vehicles as gasoline prices begin to creep up again and there continue to be plenty of those vehicles available. European SUVs have been holding up quite well considering that they are also readily available. An export market has certainly been a factor in their general strength but that is a risky market because of various parameters with respect to miles, color, and production dates.

Domestic cars continue to do quite well if their mileage is within reason. They are relatively cheap and the word is getting out among consumers that they have improved quality significantly. They often fit nicely into that under $10,000 category that is so strong.

Convertibles and sport-coupes continue to do quite well. We’ve recently raised some of the BMW 3-series convertibles as they are showing unusual strength in spite of the fact that they are comparatively available.

We anticipate a continuation of a similar market for the near future keeping in mind that there may be a very slight drop in demand and that mileage continues to be a major factor. Low or high mileage vehicles are generally very saleable. Medium mileage vehicles continue to be the most difficult to handle.

Dan Galves