CoPilot’s Return to Normal Index
February 2023 Report
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: JANUARY 2023 DATA
CoPilot’s Return to Normal Index measures the differential between what any used car price would have been today if not for the extraordinary dynamics of the past two years, versus how much it is actually worth now, at retail. As it tracks this differential over time, the Return to Normal Index provides the only real-time barometer of the used car market’s recovery, as well as how close individual vehicle segments, brands, and age brackets are to returning to normal pricing levels.
As of January 31, 2023, CoPilot’s Return to Normal Index found that used car prices fell for the seventh consecutive month, but at a slower rate than the decline seen in previous months:
- Used cars were listed at an average price of $30,472, a decline of just $385 (amounting to 1%) from December’s prices.
The average used car had a Price Premium of $7,139, or 31%, above projected normal levels.
- This represents a slight increase from last month’s Premium of $7,095 (or 30%) above normal levels.
Prices declined steadily (by just under 2%) in each of the major age brackets in January, though the Price Premium for nearly-new (1-3 year old) cars increased slightly month-over-month.
- This could be an early indicator that – as used cars see strong sales early in the new year and supply is dwindling – prices may trend upward again in the coming months, especially as we enter tax season and consumer confidence continues to rebound.
- CoPilot’s advice to consumers is to monitor the market closely: If there is a vehicle they have their eye on, now may be the time to buy, because used cars are selling fast, dealer supply is limited, and the pricing landscape is unlikely to improve until later in the spring.
In particular, now is a particularly advantageous time to buy a used EV. Following announcements by Tesla and Ford that they would cut prices of new EV models, used Tesla prices have fallen by 6% in January, to an average listing price of $50,246, and used EV prices overall have dropped by 4%, to an average listing price of $48,688.
PRICE PREMIUM BY VEHICLE AGE
While prices fell for all age brackets, the Premium for 1-3 year old cars actually rose in January, an indication that these prices may plateau or even increase in the coming weeks, dragged up by rising new car prices and strong consumer confidence.
In January 2023, 1-3 year old (nearly-new cars) had an average listing price of $39,610 – dropping by 1.6% from the previous month.
- However, the Premium for nearly-new cars widened slightly, to $9,551 (or 32%) above projected normal levels, as sales spiked and dealers’ days of supply fell in the past month for these newer models (being the closest substitute for new cars, which continued to go up in price)
In January, preowned (4-7 year old cars) had an average listing price of $28,827 – amounting to a decrease of nearly 2% from December.
- The January 2023 Price Premium for 4-7 year old vehicles was $6,547 (or 30%) above projected normal levels, representing a 2% drop from December’s Price Premium of $6,700 (or 29%).
In January, older (8-13 year old) used cars had an average listing price of $17,658, representing a decline of nearly 2% from the previous month.
- The Price Premium for 8-13 year old vehicles in January was $4,424 (or 33%) above normal levels, the highest Premium by percentage of all age brackets. This translates to a 4% decline from last month’s Premium of $4,617 (or 35%)
PRICE PREMIUM BY TYPE OF VEHICLE
SUVs: In January 2023, used SUVs were listed at an average price of $40,015, down 1%, or $210, month-over-month.
- Year-over-year, used SUV prices are down by more than average, dropping 10% (more than $4,000) from their average listing price of $44,219 in January 2022.
At $5,831, the Price Premium for used SUVs is now 17% above projected normal levels. This represents a slight increase in Premium (by $109) over the past month.
However, used SUVs remain the closest of all segments to returning to normal levels. Over the past year, its Price Premium has dropped by a staggering 57%, from $10,441 (or 31%) above projected normal levels in January 2022.
Minivans: In January 2023, the average listing price for used minivans was $23,691, down $473 (or 2%) since December.
- Over the past year, minivans – along with SUVs – have seen the most substantial price drops. They are also down 13% from their average listing price of $27,041 in January 2022.
In January 2023, the Price Premium for used minivans was $6,105, or 35%, above projected normal levels.
The Premium for used minivans has declined by 38% from January 2022, when prices were listed $8,955 (or 50%) above projected normal levels.
Pickup Trucks: In January 2023, the average listing price for used pickup trucks was $39,746, amounting to a decline of $132 (or about 1%) since the previous month.
- Used pickup trucks have held relatively firm in price over the past year, falling by a net total of just $204 since January 2022.
In January 2023, the Price Premium for used pickup trucks was $8,214 or 26%, above projected normal levels – the second-smallest Price Premium of all vehicle segments.
This represents a 12% decline in Premium from January 2022, when the Premium was $9,289, or 30%, above normal levels.
PRICE PREMIUM BY FUEL TYPE
- In January 2023, used electric vehicles had an average listing price of $48,688 – a 33% drop from their July peak of $67,926, and a 4% drop since December.
Used Tesla prices fell once more in January to an average of $50,246, a 29% drop from their peak prices of $71,325 in July. Used Tesla prices drove the overall decline in EV’s, dropping 6% in January, as used car prices adjusted to the heavy discounts announced on new Teslas in December and January.
The Price Premium for used Teslas also dropped in January to $5,084, or a relatively narrow 11%, above projected normal levels.
January represents the seventh consecutive month in which the Price Premium for used Teslas has declined.
The Price Premium has fallen by an extraordinary 80% since its peak in July, when it reached a massive $24,452 (or 53%) above projected normal levels.
Among luxury brands, only Land Rover and Jaguar (both with poor reputations for reliability and maintenance costs) now carry lower Price Premiums.
In January 2023, used hybrid vehicles were listed at an average price of $41,250, down 0.3% since the previous month. Since gas prices started to ease in July, used hybrid prices have fallen by 19% from their peak of $49,729.
PRICE PREMIUM BY BRAND
In January 2023, the Price Premium for high-volume domestic brands averaged $7,187, or 31%, above projected normal levels.
- That represents a 2% decline from their December 2022 Premium of $7,327 (or 31%) above normal levels.
In January, used Fords had the highest Price Premium among domestic brands, listed at $6,889, or 28%, above projected normal levels. They were followed by used Chevrolets, which had a Price Premium of $6,054, or 26%, above projected normal levels.
In January 2023, the Price Premium for high-volume foreign brands averaged $5,865, or 33%, above projected normal levels.
- This represents a decrease of 3% from their December 2022 Premium of $6,051 (or 34%) above normal.
- In January, among foreign brands, used Kias had the highest Price Premium, listed at $5,961, or 38%, above projected normal levels. They were followed by used Toyotas, which had a Price Premium of $5,320, or 24%, above projected normal levels, and used Hyundais, whose January Premium was $5,052,or 32%, above normal.
In January 2023, the Price Premium for luxury used car brands averaged $8,427, or 27%, above projected normal levels.
- This represents a decline of 2% in absolute terms from their December 2022 Premium of $8,629 (or 27%) above normal.
- Porsche had the highest absolute Price Premium among luxury brands, listed at $13,092, or 20%, above projected normal levels.
- They were followed by used Genesis and Cadillac, which had Price Premiums of $7,402 (or 22%) and $7,245 (or 25%), respectively.
The Return to Normal Index is drawn from data collected by leading car shopping app CoPilot. CoPilot’s data and proprietary methodology track the online inventory of virtually every dealer in the country, every day, offering real-time analysis of car prices, inventory, and sales. This January report covers data through December 31, 2022. Data and methodology have been refined in this report, for increased sensitivity to market fluctuations. Data may adjust in future, due to changes in methodology and as additional data sources are integrated.
CoPilot provides free pricing tools for consumers and the media. Price Pulse makes it easy for car shoppers to check the current market value and Price Premium for any car, track price changes, and compare years and models to choose the right car and know when to buy. For car owners and sellers, Price Pulse calculates the real-time value of their car, using the same data only dealers used to have, allowing consumers to track how much their vehicle has appreciated, so they can decide whether and when to sell, or negotiate the best deal at trade-in or lease-end.
For media publishers, CoPilot’s Price Pulse offers free, embeddable data tools, allowing journalists and bloggers to integrate interactive charts and tables within their web content, apps, or newsletters, powered by CoPilot’s unique data and analytics.