Last updated Friday, March 11, 2005
We are experiencing what I think is a somewhat unusual spring market this year. There has been an unusually short supply of vehicles coming into the market this year, primarily a factor of a successful effort by manufacturers to diminish their leasing numbers over the last few years and sluggish new vehicle sales probably due to consumers building up something of an immunity to the variety of rebates and incentives they have been tempted with the past few years. You would expect that the shortage of vehicles and the general optimism of spring would have created a booming market this year, and to some extent that is true. What is selling very well are those vehicles that are, and have been, particularly scarce or in unusually high demand in our part of the country. Domestic cars with the right miles and condition are very strong at the moment due to their scarcity. Good Cadillacs, Lincolns, Buicks, etc., do very well against book, as do the other vehicles that are particularly scarce, such as the smaller foreign pick-ups and the more unusual and/or well-equipped domestic and foreign full-size pick-ups.
The difficult vehicles, even in this relatively hot market, are those that are readily available and are not unusual in some way. That includes most of the foreign luxury as well as the overall SUV market. Unusual for this time of year, we have been steadily dropping many of the high-end imports, such as Mercedes, BMW, and Jaguar, and to a lesser extent Lexus. Unless they have something to separate them from the typical example that is out there, by virtue of mileage, color, equipment, or some combination of those factors, they are a hard sell even in this relatively hot market. Probably the hardest vehicle to sell is that medium mileage, such as an ’02 with 40K or an ’01 with 55K, luxury product or SUV that is readily available in the marketplace.
As expected, sport coupes and convertibles are strong, especially those that are relatively scarce.