There is one positive aspect to the Japanese tsunami: It seems to lift resale values. Manheim’s Used Vehicle Value Index just rose to another record in April, says Automotive News [sub]. Manheim has been keeping track of used car prices since 1995. Pushed by tighter supplies and higher demand, the index climbed to 126.6 last month, up from 124.2 in March and 120.7 in April 2010.
Used-vehicle sales by franchised and independent dealers rose to 7,158,917 units in the first four months of 2011, up 10 percent from last year. Sales rose 14 percent to 2,650,619 in April.
Fox News says that “used car prices are rising, at what some industry analysts say is an extreme rate. Everything from the recession, to the earthquake in Japan is being blamed for what some are calling the biggest shortage of late model used cars, in 20 years.”
It’s a global trend.
In Japan, “used cars are selling at extremely high prices as people in quake-stricken areas rush to buy vehicles priced at 500,000 yen or less as a temporary means of transport,” writes The Nikkei [sub].
In Australia, one of the recipients of barely used, meticulously kept 3 year old right-hand drive used cars from Japan, “the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated Japan in March has caused another disaster — to the used-car market,” reports The Republic. “Prices for used cars, especially small, fuel-efficient models, have risen dramatically in response to many factors, including a shortage of new cars coming from the island nation as automakers there struggle to restart production.”