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Ouch! Used Car Prices at All Time High

Looking for a deal on wheels? Forget about it.

by on Oct.09, 2009

It's been a wild ride for used car prices. Click to enlarge.

It's been a wild ride for used vehicle prices. Click on the chart to enlarge.

Used vehicle prices moved to an all-time high last month, spurred by falling inventories, according to new survey data from Manheim Consulting.

The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index rose 6.9% in September to a record high of 118.5. The index is adjusted for vehicle mix and seasonality. A value of 100 represents used vehicle prices in January 1995.

Wholesale used-vehicle prices in September rose for the ninth straight month, but have eased somewhat over the last two weeks because of declining retail demand, said Tom Webb, Manheim’s chief economist.

During the last week of September and the first week of October, used vehicles’ wholesale prices dropped “more than expected,” Webb said.

AutoTrader.com also reported that prices continued to climb in September as the supply of certified pre-owned (CPO) and traditional used vehicles continues to tighten.

Heavy-duty full-size pick-ups saw the largest increases in average asking prices, led by the Ford F-250, up 45% year-over-year, followed by the Chevrolet Silverado 2500, which jumped 41% and the Dodge Ram 2500, which has increased 34%.

The numbers are exaggerated since used truck prices were driven to artificial lows last year as fuel prices soared to record levels.

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