Auction Vehicle Sales Up, Quality Down in First Quarter

The latest edition of the AutoIMS Industry View poses a remarketing rollercoaster, namely, are auction vehicle sales back on track?

Graphic: AutoIMS

Vehicle sales at auctions across North America kicked off 2023 stronger than expected with a slow rise in prices compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the AutoIMS Industry View report released May 24.

But the catch was that the vehicles overall had more mileage, more damange, and a slightly lower grade.

The comprehensive auction data report from AutoIMS, an automotive remarketing technology firm based in Atlanta, aggregates data from 750+ auctions across North America that collectively take in vehicles from more than 1,000 consignors. The metrics data reflects most of the commercial vehicle sales volume at wholesale physical auto auctions in North America.

Stand Out Auction Stats

Among the highlight trends of the report:

  • The average sale vehicle price declined to $14,946 in Q1 2023 from $16,356 in the same quarter last year.
  • The conversion rate, percentage of vehicles sold on a day in which they were offered, reached 67% last quarter, up from 61% in Q1 2022.
  • The average vehicle grade at time of sale dipped slightly from 2.96 in Q1 2022 to 2.90 in Q1 this year.
  • The average mileage of a vehicle sold at auction snapped up to 91,211 in Q1 from 88,792 in Q1 2022.
  • The average damage estimate spiked up to $2,598 in Q1 of this year, compared to $2,089 in Q1 last year.
  • Total auction fees deducted from proceeds at sale settlement averaged $420 per vehicle in Q1 2023, up from $364 in Q1 2022.
  • Total time from auction arrival to sale rose from 27.5 days in Q1 2022 to 28.5 days in same quarter this year.

Overall Trends and Questions:

  • The lower vehicle conditions could be attributed to an increase in repossessions, which tend to be vehicles that owners do not adequately maintain.
  • Inflation had a partial effect on higher auction fees and charges.
  • Fleet activity is up year over year, more electric vehicles are being sold, and new vehicles sales show suprising strength.
  • While vehicles took a bit longer to sell after getting to auction early in the quarter, that trend has reversed. Vehicles now appear to be taking longer to reach the auction after being assigned.

More information: AutoIMS Q1 2023 Industry View Report


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