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CarGurus Vehicle Availability Index & Insights – March 2022

Posted by Kevin Roberts on April 1, 2022

After a disruptive February, the automotive environment continued its dynamism in March as a delayed tax season finally started to increase consumer demand, impacting inventory and prices. Additionally, ongoing supply chain challenges continued to impact the outlook for a “return to normal,” with expectations now shifting to Q4 from Q3 for full production to return.

Both new and used inventory saw a divergence in March where, surprisingly, new inventory levels improved by 8.9% despite continued production delays – levels, though, remain down 62.1% compared to last year. As mentioned, it looks like tax season demand finally arrived in March with the used inventory index declining 2.4% from February – however, the used inventory environment remains overall better compared to last year with year-over-year levels up 15.3%.

The average listing price for both new and used vehicles increased in March, but the reasons for these increases were different. For new vehicles, the average price increased by 2.3% from February and 25.9% year-over-year to over $47.7k due to an influx of higher-priced inventory – these new vehicles were priced between $40k to $100k, pulling up the overall average listing price. For used vehicles, the average listing price increased by 1.2% to over $32k and is now up 33.1% YoY due to a reduction in inventory under $30k, raising the overall price since higher-priced inventory remained relatively stable.

Highlighting the arrival of tax season demand, days-on-market declined for new vehicles by 7.8% compared to February to under 43 days despite inventory index gains. Used days-on-market increased slightly by 0.9% due to higher-priced used inventory sitting on lots.

While much remains uncertain for this year’s outlook, it’s becoming clear that the semiconductor and larger supply chain shortage will continue to buffet the auto industry further into the year than initially expected. The longer new vehicle production is impacted, used vehicle prices will stay at or near historic highs for a longer period. However, the expectations remain that vehicle production will begin to close the gap in the second half of the year, allowing the industry to begin the path to a new normal.

To learn more about vehicle inventory trends, download the CarGurus Vehicle Availability Index & Insights March 2022.   

Topics: inventory, new vehicles, used vehicles, vehicle availability