Values for used pickups and SUVs continued to slowly rebound from recent lows in May and June, when gas first passed $4 per gallon, turning what had been a slow decline in demand for trucks into a rout.
At the same time, compact-car prices in September fell slightly from August, as demand for more fuel-efficient cars could be starting to level off, according to wholesale auto auction firm ADESA Inc. Overall, average used-vehicle prices, including cars and trucks combined, were virtually flat in September compared with August, down only 0.3 percent.
"But considering the dramatic volatility seen in financial markets, the credit gridlock, and concerns about a recession, this performance almost seems robust," said Tom Kontos, executive vice president, customer strategies and analytics for ADESA.
Kontos said in a written analysis on Oct. 20 that prices for most truck segments appear to have bottomed out. That's a faint, but positive sign for new-vehicle sales, since used-vehicle demand and used-vehicle demand tend to move together.
When demand for most new trucks dropped earlier this year, despite big incentives, prices fell for used trucks, too.
In September, the average price for used, full-size SUVs improved 6.1 percent from August, to $10,507. However, September prices were still down 18.6 percent from the year-ago month, or about $2,400, according to ADESA auction data.