While 2022 had been pegged as a pivot point, so far, we’re seeing more of the same. Continued plant shutdowns due to familiar narratives like chip shortages or new ones like cyber threats continue to impact new vehicle production. Beyond production, we also saw issues with the transportation of vehicles, from a cargo ship fire to blockades at bridges, all of which impact new inventory levels and continue to slow the trajectory towards a new normal. With those speed bumps all in just one month, it’s not surprising that we didn’t see much change in new inventory in February.
The CarGurus New Vehicle Availability Index for February was down 1.5% from January and remains down 69.2% year-over-year. The continued disruption in new vehicle production will likely continue to push out the anticipated timeline for new vehicle inventory recovery. Used inventory continued to grow as the CarGurus Used Vehicle Availability Index increased 2% from January and is now up 5.2% year-over-year – sales demand seems to have cooled as prices remain at historic highs, and tax return season appears to have been delayed slightly.
Speaking of prices, the average listing price for new vehicles was up 0.3% in February and is up 25.1% compared to the same time last year. For used vehicles, the month-end to month-end comparison was similarly up 0.3% – however, it’s important to note that for most of the month, the average listing price was trending down as we saw growth in vehicles in a wider array of prices. Nevertheless, as month-end approached, it appeared that those vehicles began to be snapped up by consumers, which led to a slight increase in prices.
Another data point that saw relatively flat levels was days-on-market, with new levels dropping just 0.5% in February to roughly 46.5 days, which is still down 42% year-over-year. Used levels were up 1.1% in February to just under 68 days, which is down 6.9% compared to last year.
The outlook for 2022 continues to get cloudier as persistent external shocks buffet the vehicle industry – however, while we haven’t seen as much new inventory recovery as we would have anticipated, things also haven’t reversed course significantly. Overall, we’re currently looking at a delay in returning to a new normal, not a total change in course.
To learn more about vehicle inventory trends, download the CarGurus Vehicle Availability Index & Insights February 2022.