CPO Sales Face Numerous Challenges, but Up from Soft January
MONTVALE, N.J. — Even in the midst of wintry weather and recalls, the year-over-year CPO decline subsided a bit in February and certified sales actually climbed more than 4 percent from the previous month.
Specifically, there were 114,655 CPO sold during February, according to Autodata Corp., marking a 9.9- percent dip from the prior-year period.
However, February's certified sales were up 4.7 percent from the 109,554 units sold in January, a month that saw a 22.2-percent decrease from the record numbers of January 2009.
And though most brand saw their numbers fall, some saw significant improvement.
Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, in particular, both posted all-time highs for February.
Mercedes-Benz moved 6,153 CPO vehicles, climbing more than 6 percent from the prior-year period. So far in 2010, the automaker has sold 12,382 certified units, off 1.3 percent from last year's pace.
"We are proud to announce this was the best February in Mercedes-Benz CPO history and surpassed February 2009 sales by 6.2 percent," shared Scott Penza, manager of pre-owned operations at Mercedes-Benz USA.
"The Mercedes-Benz dealer network is continually providing positive feedback on the CPO program and related floor traffic has been on a steady rise," he added.
Meanwhile, Lexus enjoyed CPO sales of 4,831, its top February on record for certified sales. It marked a 21-percent increased from the same period of last year, when the previous record was set. Yearly CPO sales for Lexus have reached 9,688 units, a 16.2-percent gain.
Nissan also had a strong February in the certified segment, with sales climbing nearly 17 percent to 7,719 units. Year-to-date sales stand at 13,406 units, up more than 4 percent year-over-year.
The Infiniti division sold 857 CPO units in February, off 12.5 percent from a year ago, while the Nissan division's sales climbed 22.3 percent to 6,322 units.
"We observed an increase in CPO search traffic and CPO leads during January and felt as though the pump was priming for a good February," said Neal Zirkle, Nissan's senior manager for CPO and pre-owned vehicles.
"The really good news is we also saw an increase in February's search and lead count which bodes well for our dealers in March," he added. "We have some major markets where consumers are looking for CPO vehicles, but aren't finding any vehicles to consider due to our low online inventory. Increasing our online CPO inventory remains our biggest opportunity."
Toyota, meanwhile, certainly saw impact on the CPO side from automaker's recall. February certified sales fell 7.2 percent year-over-year to 18,382 units. Year-to-date CPO numbers are 6.2 percent to 38,005 vehicles.
Norm Olson, sales operations manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, said that between 40 percent and 45 percent of Toyota's potential CPO inventory was affected. And that figure included both in-stock inventory as well as units at auctions.
"We have since gotten those fixed," Olson noted, praising the widespread and collaborative efforts of "strike teams" comprised of dealership, factory and hired technicians which pulled together to fix the problems. Olson said they worked around the clock to repair affected Toyota vehicles at dealerships, local auctions and rental-car companies.
"It was just a tremendous effort," he added.
Though Toyota "pulled out a decent month," in February, March looks to be better, Olson noted.
"There's a lot of pent-up demand; our Internet hits are up 40 percent from the previous month," he explained. "I think the worst is behind us. We took a beating, but our dealers reacted in a very positive manner.
"We're back on the road and looking forward to a very fantastic March," Olson added.
On the domestic side of the market, Ford moved 11,329 CPO units during the month, down 10.6 percent year-over-year. Through the first months of the year, the automaker has sold 21,134 certified vehicles, a 19.8-percent decrease from the year-ago period.
By brand, Lincoln Mercury moved 1,619 certified units in February, a decrease of 14.6 percent. Meanwhile, Ford's CPO sales totaled 9,710 units, down 9.9 percent.
At General Motors, its certified brands combined to sell 23,237 units, down 27.8 percent from the year-ago period. So far in 2010, GM has sold 45,126 CPO vehicles, a 37.59-percent softening from last year's pace.
By brand GM Certified Used Vehicles — which now includes Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, GMC and Saturn — moved 20,856 vehicles in February, compared to 28,204 units in February 2009. The latter total included CPO sales for Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, GMC and Oldsmobile, but not Saturn.
As some may know, GM Certified Used Vehicles ended its sale of Oldsmobiles at the end of September because of the vehicles' age. Saturn was added to the GM Certified Used Vehicles lineup in February.
Continuing on, Cadillac's certified sales were 2,023 (down 38.75 percent), while Saab CPO sales fell 52.1 percent to 228 units and Hummer sold 130 CPO units, off 35.96 percent.
At Chrysler, it moved 7,787 certified vehicles, down 11.8 percent from February 2009. In 2010, it has sold 14,584 units, which is a decrease of 20.1 percent.
By make, Dodge sold 3,345 CPO units during the month, an 8.7-percent dip. Jeep moved 2,437 certified vehicles, off 6.9 percent. Chrysler's certified sales reached 2,005 units during the month, a 21.4-percent softening.
Continuing on, BMW's certified sales fell 9.4 percent to 8,469 units in February. Year-to-date sales reached 15,912 units, compared to 19,357 CPO vehicles sold through the first two months of 2009.
"Despite the unusual weather patterns in the whole country and snow in Texas, the Gulf states and the Eastern Seaboard, BMW pre-owned sales have continued to show progress exceeding January sales numbers," commented Joan Horst, pre-owned manager of marketing at BMW North America.
"A BMW Financial Services offer of zero-percent maintenance on specific models was introduced for the first time starting Feb. 1, 2010, and dealers are seeing interest from consumers on the program," she added.
Honda's certified sales, meanwhile, reached 13,818 units in February, a 14.9-percent upswing, while Acura moved 2,858 CPO vehicles, down 9.2 percent.
Year-to-date, Honda has sold 27,196 certified units, up 8.2 percent from last year, while Acura has sold 5,619 CPO vehicles so far this year, a 14.6-percent dip from last year's pace.
Volkswagen's CPO sales were 2,934 vehicles during the month, off 18.5 percent from a year ago. Its dealers have sold 5,715 certified vehicles through the first two months of 2010, marking a 22.9-percent decline.
Continuing on, Subaru saw its certified sales climb 14.5 percent to 1,260 vehicles during February. Year-to-date sales hit 2,585 CPO units, a gain of 14.9 percent.
Hyundai posted certified sales of 1,149 units, an upswing of 11.9 percent. Year-to-date, it has moved 2,215 CPO units, a 20.8-percent improvement.
Next up was Volvo, which sold 1,317 certified units in February, compared with 1,924 vehicles a year ago. Thus far in 2010, the automaker's CPO sales have been 2,766 vehicles, a decline of 35.1 percent.
Audi's CPO sales were 1,795 units for the month, down 27.2 percent from sales of 2,467 vehicles a year ago. So far in 2010, Audi has moved 3,490 certified vehicles, a 31.1-percent softening from last year's pace.
Among other automakers, Kia moved 537 CPO vehicles, compared with 247 units last February.
Mazda's February CPO sales fell 13.7 percent to 354 vehicles, while Porsche's were up 6 percent to 530 units.
Jaguar reported certified sales of 295 units, off 27.5 percent year-over-year, and Land Rover's CPO sales were 214 units, down 58.2 percent from the prior-year period.
Mini moved 148 certified vehicles, compared with 180 last February.
Bentley was estimated to have sold 30 CPO vehicles, compared with an estimate of 33 units a year ago. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi CPO sales were estimated at 37 vehicles, versus last year's estimate of 76 units.
Maserati sold 12 certified vehicles during the month. In February 2009, it had not begun reporting CPO data.