Has Spring Sprung? 2024 Black Book Insights for Dealers

By Amber Cruickshank

Get the latest insights and trends in the automotive industry and stay ahead of the curve as you navigate the dynamic landscape of spring car buying

Black Book Insights for Car Dealers: Spring 2024

Mirror, mirror on the wall…this Spring, will I be the most successful Dealer of all? 

It’s a real possibility, and although we don’t have a trusty crystal ball, we do have Black Book’s Market Insights on the US car market to give us a good idea of what the next few months look like for Dealers. Additionally, looking at the US market is often a good indicator of Canadian trends – sometimes leading our market by 3 to 6 months. 

Black Book has been the go-to source in the automotive world since 1955, providing accurate pricing info to industry insiders. Whether you’re a dealer, lender, or car enthusiast, Black Book’s got the skills to help you move metal at a fair market price. Plus, they’re part of National Auto Research, backed by Hearst, so you know you’re getting reliable data.

So what’s the overall low down? Well, it looks like the wholesale market’s feeling an early spring vibe. Depreciation’s slowing down quicker than usual for this time of year. And check this out: compact cars are killing it in the US, with values rising across the board for weeks. Take a look below.

Now, here are the Canadian numbers: 

Not nearly as rosy for Compacts, and all vehicles are showing a more significant decrease. So what’s in store for us Canucks as the weather changes, and it seems Spring is coming early. Will a softer winter impact vehicle sales – we’re betting yes. 

Used Retail Prices 

The good news is that buying a used car is getting easier due to the proliferation of ‘no-haggle pricing,’ making used retail prices more clear than ever. With upfront transparent pricing, Black Book can track market trends more accurately and as a bonus, customers enjoy a smoother buying process. Analyzing data from around two million vehicles on U.S. dealer lots, Black Book insights focus on 2-6-year-old vehicles, using an index to spot market shifts. 

But we should take that with a grain of salt, as the following chart of Canadian data shows the massive increase in Used Car pricing over the last 3 years. Ouch!

What does this mean for Dealers? 

Frankly speaking, Dealers will continue to have to be creative in the deals they structure for Canadian buyers. While most buyers are aware of these full-scale changes, the reality is that in most cases, the family budget has not increased by 22.5% to compensate for the average increase in new vehicle purchase price. Buyers will likely be shifting from plans of a new vehicle to the reality of a pre-owned unit. 

Sales teams must watch for this and support their buyers as they navigate these tough decisions. 

Inventory: Used Retail 

The Used Retail Active Listing Volume Index looks into inventory trends across independent and franchised US dealerships. It’s all about spotting yearly market shifts, starting from the first week and gives us some deep insights into spring market dynamics. 

What does this mean for Dealers? 

Used vehicle volumes have changed significantly over the past three years in tandem with the significant decrease in new car inventory; this has translated into a decrease in used car volumes. Additionally, owners are holding their vehicles longer as they observe the market for indications of some stabilization. Any buyer looking at a significant purchase who has access to some of the data above – like average increase in price – will undoubtedly hold on as long as they can to see if the prices come down. It’s hard to say if this is a trend that will reverse. But we’ll watch US and other foreign market data for the early indicators. 

The Used Retail Days-to-Turn 

The Used Retail Days-to-turn estimate is now sitting around 58 days at the start of 2024. See Below.

The days on lot will likely continue to increase as the demand lags the increase of supply. Simple macroeconomics tells us that the trends on both sides will result in an increase in aging inventory. 

Dealers will need to pull out all the stops to win an unfair advantage in their market. We certainly believe it’s possible to outsell your local competition and eradicate your aging inventory problem. Careful buying, intentional merchandising, and efficient promotion of your inventory are all ways to make sure you win the battles in your market. 

How Can Dealers Sell More Used Vehicles This Spring 2024?

We’re glad you asked. We have the perfect solution to move your used cars, trucks and SUVs so you can sell them faster and be top of your Dealer game this Spring. It’s called HIGHBEAM. Leadbox Highbeam increases the visibility of aged, unpopular or high-profit vehicles so you can move them off your lot to make room for the money-makers. 

With Highbeam, Dealers can shine the brights on specific vehicles that are aged, have low visibility, or are high-profit, ensuring they receive the attention they deserve. All you have to do is choose your goals, and Highbeam will automatically market these vehicles to in-market shoppers, helping to boost sales and clear out inventory faster. Sound easy? It is, and we’re happy to help you get started. 

Happy Spring! 


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