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Cars Commerce April Industry Insights Report Reveals New-Car Inventory Up 35% YoY but Remains a Million Units Below 2019 Levels With Prices Up 30% in the Same Time Frame

Used-Car Market Moderates; Demand Drops 8%, Prices Decline 6%

CHICAGO, May 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Cars.com Inc. (NYSE: CARS) (d/b/a "Cars Commerce Inc."), an audience-driven technology company empowering the automotive industry, today launched its April Industry Insights Report. Crafted by an expert team of Cars Commerce data analysts, the report provides macro and micro automotive market insights by analyzing supply, demand, pricing and consumer behavior data from across the company's platform, including its flagship marketplace and leading reputation site Cars.com®, digital solutions and website provider Dealer Inspire, and trade-in and appraisal technology provider AccuTrade.

"The last five years have been highly volatile for auto, yet a pattern of stabilization is emerging," said Rebecca Lindland, senior director of industry data and insights at Cars Commerce. "We are navigating through a new normal, where vehicle costs are substantially higher and the mix of availability by price point has shifted. The recovery in more affordable new cars below $30,000 offers a silver lining, providing relief for consumers. As the market stabilizes month over month, we remain optimistic that the worst may be behind us."

Key April Market Highlights

As of April 2024, the automotive industry is experiencing significant shifts across new, used and electric-vehicle sectors, signaling a move toward greater stability and consumer choice. Prices, consumer demand, inventory supply and turnover leveled off, establishing a new standard for the industry and consumers. To download the full report, visit www.CarsCommerce.inc.

  • Gradual improvement in new inventory and consumer demand: The average new-car price remains stable at approximately $49,111, down slightly by 1.5% year over year — although prices are higher than before the semiconductor shortage, there's a notable effort by automakers to introduce more vehicles priced under $30,000, which have seen the most market share growth so far in 2024. As new-car inventory levels increase by 35% compared to 2023, consumers are experiencing fewer pressures to compromise on their vehicle choices. This reflects a market adapting to improved supply conditions, although total inventory still trails pre-pandemic levels by over a million units.

  • Aging inventory with elevated costs: In April 2024, used cars averaged 59,693 miles, marking an increase of 4,360 miles compared to April 2019. Despite a slight year-over-year 6% decrease (-$1,958) in prices, the average cost remained elevated at $28,910 compared to April 2019, when the average price was $21,639. This shift reflects in the cost per 1,000 miles, which rose from $391 ($0.39 per mile) in April 2019 to $484 ($0.48 per mile) in April 2024, reflecting a gradual easing but still higher costs than pre-pandemic levels. Consumers are paying an additional $93 per 1,000 miles on average compared to 2019 and $119 more at the peak of market prices. Used inventory slightly declined by 1.6% year over year, coupled with a decrease in consumer demand, suggesting ongoing challenges but also a gradual stabilization. As the market adapts, both buyers and sellers are adjusting to a landscape shaped by the trickle-down effect of high new-car prices.

  • Trade-in and wholesale market trends: Pre-pandemic, luxury used trade-ins commanded 120% more value than mainstream brands, but today, the difference has narrowed to 78% as mainstream prices have surged. After a brief spring recovery, wholesale values dipped again in April (-1.2% MoM, -16% YoY), with both mainstream and luxury models experiencing similar declines, indicating ongoing depreciation adjustments. Additionally, increased purchases by rental companies drove up mainstream used-vehicle prices, contributing to the narrowing price gap between luxury and mainstream segments.

  • EV market response to overcapacity: The EV market is seeing a significant increase in inventory that has led to some oversupply, prompting a 5% reduction in new EV prices year over year to an average of $62,927. This price adjustment aims to stimulate demand in a segment that is still growing but at a moderate pace due to economic uncertainties. And it's working: Demand for new EVs is up 10% YoY. The used EV market has responded with a substantial 20% drop in prices, enhancing its appeal amid cost-conscious consumer behavior.

Additional noteworthy April insights:

  • Toyota Tacoma punches above its weight In top searches amid full-size trucks: In a market heavily skewed toward full-size trucks, it secures a spot in the top 10 vehicle searches as the only mid-size truck in a highly competitive segment. This achievement is particularly striking given the introduction of new models in the mid-size truck category, all sporting the latest designs and features. Yet the Tacoma not only holds its ground, it's also set to enhance its appeal with the upcoming introduction of a hybrid engine — a first in its class — promising increased power and improved fuel economy.

  • Seasonal trends in top-searched used autos: In April, the top 10 most searched used cars saw a seasonal price increase. The average price for all top 10 models rose month over month, with the Porsche 911 experiencing the largest increase and the Chevrolet Corvette the smallest.

 

New-Vehicle Supply, Demand and Pricing*

April 2024

Supply 
(YoY)

Demand 
(YoY)

Price
(YoY)

34.6 %

-22 %

-1.5 %

 

Used-Vehicle Supply, Demand and Pricing*

April 2024

Supply 
(YoY)

Demand 
(YoY)

Price
(YoY)

-1.6 %

-7.8 %

-6.3 %

 

New-EV Supply, Demand and Pricing*

April 2024

Supply 
(YoY)

Demand 
(YoY)

Price
(YoY)

99.7 %

10.5 %

-5.1 %

 

Used-EV Supply, Demand and Pricing*

April 2024

Supply 
(YoY)

Demand 
(YoY)

Price
(YoY)

42.2 %

44.6 %

-20.2 %

 

*Inventory, searches and list price on Cars.com

ABOUT CARS COMMERCE
Cars Commerce is an audience-driven technology company empowering the automotive industry. The Company simplifies everything about car buying and selling with powerful products, solutions and AI-driven technologies that span pretail, retail and post-sale activities – enabling more efficient and profitable retail operations. The Cars Commerce platform is organized around four industry-leading brands: the flagship automotive marketplace and dealer reputation site Cars.com®, award-winning technology and digital retail technology and marketing services from Dealer Inspire, essential trade-in and appraisal technology from AccuTrade, and exclusive in-market media solutions from the Cars Commerce Media Network. Learn more at www.carscommerce.inc.

SOURCE Cars Commerce

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Phelps, aphelps@carscommerce.inc, 773-724-1385