Last updated Thursday, January 12, 2006

Anticipating market conditions for January each year is like picking football winners in the recently-completed college bowl games: there has been no activity for a while and virtually anything can happen. The first week of the New Year has seen generally good activity at the auctions as well as average to good demand at the wholesale complex that surrounds our offices. It seems that the optimism that usually doesn’t kick in until the second or third week of January has started early this year and we can look forward to a few good selling weeks at very least.

Pick-up trucks and SUV's are holding up generally. We have noticed recently that the extended versions of SUV's have been experiencing more activity than their slightly shorter brethren(Suburban over Tahoe, Yukon XL over Yukon) , reversing a trend that played out as gasoline prices soared last year. Vans may be slightly off due to a greater than normal supply that may be just temporary. Smaller SUVs continue to be strong.

Luxury sedans continue to be just OK. There is an adequate supply and normal demand at best. The exceptions are the all-wheel-drive category where they are relatively scarce, such as the Mercedes S-class and E-class 4-matics.

What is scarce and has the potential to become very strong are the $5000 - $8,000 vehicles that still have life to them. In particular are some of the domestic sedans from Ford and GM that are severely underpriced compared to their imported competition and very scarce in the northeast and far west where they sell so few new.

Sport coupes and convertibles are OK at present and are likely to heat up very quickly.

Dan Galves