Sales of certified pre-owned vehicles on the rise in first half of 2018


Industry sales of certified pre-owned vehicles bounced back in the first half after a flat 2017.

CPO sales rose 3.3 percent in the first half from a year earlier to 1,386,123 vehicles, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

Fueled by a rising tide of nearly new, off-lease vehicles, CPO sales climbed at a rapid clip in 2013-15, setting records, but the pace slowed to a 3.5 percent gain in 2016. Sales edged up just 0.1 percent in 2017, still enough for yet another record: 2,646,295 vehicles.

Certified strong

Top 10 certified pre-owned vehicle brands, by volume
  1st-half 2018 sales % change
Toyota 179,798 –5.0%
Honda 133,194 2.40%
Chevy 129,279 2.70%
Ford 115,557 –6.7%
Nissan 115,035 13%
BMW 64,607 –8.4%
Jeep 62,709 32%
M-B 62,087 3.30%
Lexus 47,287 –0.4%
VW 46,478 33%
Industry 1,386,123 3.30%
Source: Automotive News Data Center

The slowdown was partly natural, as gains for some brands no longer came against a small base. But some dealers said big incentives on new vehicles last year left little room for profit after spending extra money to certify used vehicles.

That sentiment seems to have abated. But results vary by brand. Four of the top 10 brands by sales posted first-half dips. But three of the top 10 saw sales climb 10 percent or more.

Volkswagen brand’s sales surged 33 percent, the largest of any brand with sales of at least 10,000 vehicles a year earlier, lifting it into the top 10, displacing Hyundai. More inventory and a stronger, rebranded program helped, said Raghu Iyengar, VW’s head of fleet and CPO sales. Supplies of CPO-worthy vehicles tumbled in 2016 and into the first quarter of 2017 because of the Takata airbag recall, but inventory is now back up.

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