Certified preowned sales bested February’s total by 14.3%, marking the third consecutive month of improvement and the strongest monthly sales since September, finds a Cox Automotive analysis of Motor Intelligence data.

This news is tempered with some less than stellar insights about CPO sales—they still fell 23.3% short  year-over-year when compared to 2021.

The COX analysis finds that though there were 577,529 CPO sales in Quarter 1, the numbers were 17.1% lower than 2021’s first quarter sales of 696,809 vehicles.

Cox has subsequently trimmed its forecast for certified sales in 2022. Company analysts say they now project 2.8 million CPO sales in 2022, down from the 3-million-unit forecast made earlier this year.

Cox Automotive Chief Economist Johnathan Smoke said, “we expect so much competition in nearly new vehicles including from rental car companies, that like last year, in the second half of the year, the CPO market will struggle with setting a record.

High used car prices may also have hampered sales, according to KAR Global Chief Economist Tom Kontos.

“Retail used vehicle sales and CPO sales have started the year down compared to 2021, 2020 and 2019, as consumers may be shying away from purchasing used vehicles at such historically high prices,” he said.

Cox also estimates that overall used-car sales fell about 12% year over year in March. The total used-car SAAR hit 33 million for the month, compared to 24 million in February and 43.1 million in March 2021. Cox estimates there were 3.55 million used car sales in March, compared to 3.07 million in February. In contrast, used car sales volume in March 2021 hit 4.03 million units.

Cox also estimates that dealership used car sales fell about 11% year over year, hitting a 13% year over year decrease and an 11% month over month again.

Charles Chesbrough, Cox Automotive senior economist, attributes limited new vehicle inventory to slowing the gently used segment with fewer trade ins. He notes soaring prices also slowed sales of older-model vehicles.

“Sales are likely to be slightly less this spring selling season,” he adds.

Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today

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