‘It definitely had an impact’: COVID-19 causes spike in used car prices due to a decline in cars being made

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Kelley Blue Book says used car prices are at record-breaking levels, and some models are hitting close to what new cars cost, due to how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the industry’s supply and demand.

“It definitely had an impact on it,” said Cars R Us sales manager Jim Mann.

In fact, large pickup trucks saw a $2,301 increase in average list price in July.

One local used car sales manager said despite the high prices, there’s a higher demand for low mileage vehicles right now.

Mann says car manufacturers haven’t been supplying new cars to dealers, so there’s less trade-ins, causing more demand, which causes those prices to go up.

“You can see it at the used car market at the auctions,” Mann said.

He said since they primarily buy from local wholesalers, their Myrtle Beach business isn’t as much at risk as other dealers of a low supply.

Edmunds Automotive website reports that automakers were forced to shut down plants for about two months in the spring because of COVID-19, leading to a decline in inventory.

Not only has the pandemic caused used car prices to go up, but Mann says many folks are using their stimulus checks to buy a car, or at least put a down payment on it.

“People are still buying used cars,” Mann said. “The people that can afford to, and prefer to have new automobiles, still have that capability. As a matter of fact, right now, some of the new car dealers are advertising 0% for as long as 84 months.”

He’s seen industry prices and supply and demand fluctuate for close to 30 years and says the fall is when demand might drop again.

“It’ll come back. It always does,” said Mann.

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