Finding the sweet spot in used car sales

used carIf you’re looking for the sweet spot in which vehicles will work for your used sales department, it could be the vehicles that are up to 5 years old – designated certified pre-owned.

Sales of vehicles ages 1 to 5 were especially “hot” in April, rising 9 percent over 2013, according to CNW market research and reported by Overall used vehicle sales rose just 3.65 percent.

Meanwhile, nearly 200,000 certified pre-owned vehicles were sold during the month, a 9.5 percent jump over the numbers from a year ago.

Coincidence? Probably not, suggests Joel Overby, editor of AutoRemarketing.

Which automakers saw the most movement among certified pre-owned vehicles?

  • Asian automakers, with 91,027 vehicles sold
  • The Big Three, which sold 68,253 certified vehicles
  • European automakers, with 33,811 sold

And even with the second place finish in total used sales, U.S manufacturers saw an increase of 13.5 percent from the previous year. Otherwise, European automakers gained 12.1 percent and Asian carmakers 5.8 percent.

For the first four months of the year, the total number of certified units sold reached nearly 750,000, an increase of 10.5 percent over last year – and that’s just for franchised dealers. If you throw in independent dealers and private party sales, the April numbers jump to nearly 4 million units sold.

CNW research analyst Art Spinella attributes this to the power of the Internet.

“The Internet continues to drive traffic to used car sellers,” Spinella explains. “In April, the number of shoppers who went to a dealership because of something seen on the Internet jumped 116 percent versus a year ago.”

No matter what the reason is, certified pre-owned vehicles between one and five years old seem to be the secret weapon of increased auto sales. So if you’re looking for the new inventory for the used vehicle department, you may want to look at some later model units because it appears that the secret is out.

– LaQuenda Jackson


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