Leasing, CPO vehicles propel used car sale

They continuing record-breaking pattern

Used car sales climbed 5.6 percent last year to a total of 38.3 million, according to a new report released recently by Edmunds.com. The 2015 Used Vehicle Market Report further reveals that 2015 was a milestone year that saw record high used car prices (an average of $18,600 per vehicle sold) and an all-time high for certified pre-owned (CPO) sales (2.55 million).

“The key factor driving all of the trends in used car sales today is the popularity of leasing, which is bringing younger and higher quality used cars back to the market,” said Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. “We’re truly in the midst of a golden age for CPO and near-new used cars. And with a record number of lease terminations expected in 2016, for the foreseeable future there certainly will be no shortage of supply to meet the growing demand for used cars.”

Highlights of data and insights found within the report include:

Highest sales in almost a decade

The 38,276,140 used car sales recorded in 2015 was the highest single-year total since 2007, when 38,279,709 used cars changed hands. Franchise dealers, meanwhile, set a single-year record with 11.4 million used car sales.

Vehicles get newer, more expensive

The heavy influx of lease returns weighed the average age of used vehicles sold down to 4.4 years in 2015 from the previous year’s 4.6 years. Fifty-four percent of used vehicles sold last year were 3 years old or younger. And average used car transaction prices set a new record in 2015, increasing 4.6 percent from $17,700 in 2014 to $18,600 in 2015.

The CPO surge

There were more certified pre-owned sales in 2015 (2.55 million) than in any year on record. In fact, CPO sales have increased a staggering 55 percent in the last five years. CPO accounted for 22.4 percent of all franchise dealers’ used car sales in 2015, up from 20.9 percent in 2014, and up from 18.8 percent in 2010.

CPO shoppers are thorough researchers

According to an analysis of shopping behaviors on Edmunds.com, CPO shoppers clearly spend more time researching than all other shoppers, with more than twice as many page views and session durations as either new car shoppers or (non-CPO) used car shoppers.

The full 2015 Used Vehicle Report can be found at static.ed.edmunds-media.com/unversioned/img/industry-center/analysis/2015-used-market-report.pdf.

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