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Demand for Used Small Cars Pushes Price Surge in 2011
added: 2011-09-03

Elevated gas prices have helped to drive a surge in used compact car prices, according to a data analysis by Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information. Edmunds.com’s data reveal that consumers paid about 10 percent more for used three-year-old compact cars in July than in January. By comparison, prices for this segment rose just 1.6 percent over the same period in 2010, and 1.1 percent in 2008, the last time gas prices crept over $4/gallon.

At the other end of the spectrum, used three-year-old large traditional SUVs saw a small drop in price (-3.2%, on average) from January to July. This segment, however, demonstrated much more stability than it did in 2008, when the price of used three-year-old large traditional SUVs plummeted 23 percent during the first seven months of the year.

“In 2008, consumers reacted to rising gas prices by running away from SUVs; in 2011, they reacted by running toward small cars,” said Richard Arca, used car analyst at Edmunds.com. “This year’s pricing trends are also affected by the March earthquake in Japan, which for some time made it very difficult to find, for example, a new Toyota Prius or Honda Civic. That created a very aggressive market for similar used models.”

According to Edmunds.com data, the price of a new 2010 Toyota Prius bought in July 2010 depreciated just 4.3 percent after one year, while the price of a new 2010 Honda Civic depreciated five percent over the same period. By comparison, the average price for all new 2010 models depreciated 28.9 percent during that time.

Overall, used car prices have climbed 4.3 percent from January to July this year. In 2010, prices rose 3.0 percent over the same period.


Source: Business Wire

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