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Used Vehicle Sales

The resale value of a used vehicle is determined by three factors: the unit’s age, total mileage, and overall condition. A used company vehicle in poor condition, because of driver abuse or neglect, will result in lost resale value or incur unnecessary reconditioning expense at auction. Here's what you can do to minimize vehicle abuse.

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Depreciation Returns to the Used-Vehicle Market

The latest auction figures point out a few important trends: First, the market for certain types of vehicles is definitely getting softer. Second, there really isn't one "used-vehicle market" anymore.

High-Mileage Used Fleet Vehicles Create Difficulties Financing 'C' and 'D' Paper Buyers

Fleet managers are manufacturers of used vehicles. Many of the buyers of used fleet vehicles are C and D paper buyers. One unintended consequence to companies extending the service lives of fleet vehicles is that it is more difficult for used-vehicle dealers to finance C and D paper buyers in the secondary funding market. The issue, from the perspective of the finance company, is the remaining life of higher-mileage vehicles.

How Long Will the Slump in Used-Vehicle Values Last?

We are currently in the midst of the worst used-vehicle market in the past 25 years. Year-over-year prices declined every month in 2008; however, wholesale prices did improve the first 10 days of January. Despite this, many fleets now find that the depreciation rates established 24-36 months ago are insufficient for today's resale market. In many cases, resale values of fleet vehicles are significantly below the remaining book value. Here's a forecast for what lies ahead in the wholesale market.

2008: One of the Worst Years in Fleet History

I can’t recall a year as tumultuous as 2008. The year started with the Jan. 1 termination of the $1.8 billion merger between GE and PHH and ended with the near bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler. In between, we witnessed record fuel prices, then a spectacular freefall in fuel prices, a dismal used-vehicle market, unprecedented credit gridlock, the inability of some fleets to order new-vehicles, and fleet delivery disruptions due to a UAW strike and an epic Midwest flood that submerged rail lines.

Credit Gridlock Will Impede Sales of Used Fleet Vehicles

The bread-and-butter customers of out-of-service fleet vehicles are buyers with C and D credit, namely subprime buyers. However, funders have tightened underwriting standards to manage these higher risk borrowers. Some lenders have caps on how low a FICO score they are willing to fund, which is often above the threshold of subprime borrowers. If this continues, it will have significant long-term implications for the sale of used fleet vehicles.

Subprime Crisis Metastasizes to Fleet Resale Market

An average end-of-service fleet sedan is three years old with 60,000-plus miles. The resale market for these used vehicles encompasses diverse demographics. However, in most cases, the dealers who buy fleet vehicles at auction will ultimately resell them to someone of limited financial means. In many cases, these buyers have less than stellar credit and may only qualify for a subprime auto loan. Since the onset of the subprime crisis, loan approvals for these customers are more difficult.