Market Conditions March 2003

We get a read on market conditions from a variety of sources. They include feedback from within the automotive wholesale complex where our offices are located as well as feedback from our staff, our consultants, and other dealers who frequent a variety of regional auctions. This is one of those rare times when we are getting mixed messages. We have heard from various sources that the market is anywhere from “red hot” to “mediocre at best”. Our own experience leads us to believe that while the market is much improved from the depths of October and November, it is not what we have come to expect – and hope for – from a normal spring selling season.

Why the mixed messages? Perhaps wishful thinking, perhaps grateful deliverance from the scary lows of late fall, perhaps paying too much attention to the relatively rare “exceptional” vehicles that are doing “all the money” in an otherwise tepid market. Whatever. From what we’ve seen and heard there is not yet a lot of strength to this market.

This will sound like a broken record, but that is because it remains true. Those vehicles that are available in large quantities, mostly 2000s now coming off lease, are very weak unless they have significantly lower mileage than most or have some combination of color and/or equipment that make them unusual and sought after. A pearl white DeVille with navigation, for instance, will bring thousands more than a dark blue one without nav. A 1999 Jaguar XJ8 with 25,000 miles will bring thousands more than the same car with 40,000 miles. In short, ordinary vehicles are bringing very ordinary money at best.

We remind our subscribers that although our prices represent vehicles in good condition, our mileage and equipment parameters fall into the ordinary category for a market such as this. Stretching on such vehicles can be risky. Save your aggressiveness for the exceptional ones.