CoPilot’s Return to Normal Index

March 2023 Report


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 February 28, 2023, CoPilot’s Return to Normal Index found that, with consumer confidence high and sales jumping significantly in February, used car prices have increased for the first time since August 2022:

  • New car prices listed by dealers hit a new record, averaging over $50,000 for the first time in Feb 2023, up $118 or 0.2% month-over-month, on strong monthly sales growth of almost 10%.
  • Used cars were listed at an average price of $30,628, up $181 (or 0.5%) over January – the first price increase since September 2022. 
  • The average used car had a Price Premium of $7,157 (or 31%), above projected normal levels for the same mix of cars. After several months of falling, this Price Premium has increased in each of the last two months, an indication that prices will continue to go up in the near term.
  • Used car price increases are being driven by 1-3 year old cars, which consumers often turn to as a substitute for new vehicles. As new vehicle prices jumped, 1-3 year old cars followed suit, increasing in price in February by $359 or 0.9%.
  • Teslas and electric vehicles overall - which saw significant price drops in January after Tesla cut prices of several new models  - continued to fall in price in February, although at a substantially slower rate.
  • CoPilot expects used car prices to increase and Price Premiums to widen in the next two months, due to robust consumer demand during tax refund season. This will be a temporary reversal of the trend of prices falling back towards normal depreciation.
  • Update: As predicted, CoPilot reports these trends continuing in early March:

    • *New car sales accelerated to increase by another 6.6% week-over-week, and new car retail prices set yet another record at $50,188.*
    • *Used car sales grew even faster, up 6.8% week-over-week, driving prices up almost 1% to $30,899. With used car inventories flat, dealer supply levels dropped significantly to 34 days worth of sales, the lowest level since June 2021.*
    • Used EVs, and especially Teslas, rebounded in late Feb, with sales and prices trending up in the first days of March. With newly-announced price cuts on new Model S and Model X Teslas, CoPilot expects these will flow through to lower used prices, but with a delay measured in weeks, as dealers try to maintain their margin on cars they had already bought at auction or trade-in.


  • In February, nearly-new (1-3 year old cars) were listed at an average price of  $39,985. Increasing by $359 (or 0.9%) since January, this represents the first month-over-month price hike for nearly-new cars since July 2022.

    • The Premium for this age bracket was $10,194 (or 34%) above projected normal levels – a 7% increase from January, when its Premium was $9,562 (or 31%). This increase represents the largest increase since January 2022, and reflects these cars becoming more expensive, not only in absolute terms but relative to normal depreciation, reversing the recent trend of falling prices.
  • In February, preowned (4-7 year old cars) had an average listing price of $28,716, bottoming out with a mere $99 price drop, after dropping more than $1,000 in the previous 2 months

    • However, the Price Premium for pre-owned cars was $6,785 (or 31%) above projected normal levels. This represents a 4% increase in Premium from January, when this age bracket was priced $6,528 (or 29%) above projected normal levels.
  • In February, older (8-13 year old) used cars had an average listing price of $17,455, down $208 from the previous month.

    • The Price Premium for 8-13 year old vehicles in February was $4,468 (or 34%) above projected normal levels. This translates to a slight increase (of $39) in Premium from January, when older used cars were priced $4,429 above projected normal levels.


  • SUVs: In February 2023, used SUVs were listed at an average price of $40,446, an increase of $433 (or 1%) from the previous month.

    • For SUVs, which for many months have been the segment closest to returning to normal levels, February is the first time in six months that prices have increased.
    • At $6,508, the Price Premium for used SUVs is now 19% above projected normal levels. This month - which saw the Premium for used SUVs increase by 11% since January - also represents the first time that the Premium for used SUVs increased since August 2022.
    • However, used SUVs remain the closest of all segments to returning to normal levels - with its Premium down 40% from $11,004 year-over-year.
  • Minivans: In February 2023, minivans saw their prices decrease slightly, dropping $56 to an average listing price of $23,588.

    • Following multiple months of price drops of over $500, used minivan price declines slowed significantly last month.
    • However, in terms of Price Premium, used minivans continue to become more affordable for consumers. In February 2023, the Price Premium for used minivans was $5,687 (or 32%) above projected normal levels, a 6% improvement for buyers, relative to January’s Premium of $6,070 (or 35%) above projected normal levels.

  • Pickup Trucks: In February 2023, the average listing price for used pickup trucks was $39,943, up $228 since January.

    • Used pickup trucks had been drifting down in price for  six consecutive months, and are now $1,201 below their February 2022 prices.
    • In February 2023, the Price Premium for used pickup trucks was $8,578, or 27%, above projected normal levels – the second-smallest Price Premium of all vehicle segments.

    • However, this represents an 5% increase in Premium from January 2023, and the first uptick in this metric since July 2022, an indication that prices may go up further in the near term.


  • In February 2023, used electric vehicles had an average listing price of $47,644 – a 6% drop since mid-January, when Tesla first announced price cuts to several of its new models.

    • Since their July 2022 peak of $67,397, used EV prices have fallen by 30% overall.
  • Tesla dominates the used EV market, making up 35% of dealer inventory and 50% of sales.

  • Used Tesla prices fell for the eighth consecutive month in February, dipping below $50,000 for the first time in two years, to an average of $49,160, a massive $22,000 below last summer’s gas-price induced peak.

    • The Price Premium for used Teslas also dropped in February to $4,771, 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, but CoPilot data show prices going up in early March, so this Price Premium is likely to increase next month.

    • 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 Volvo, Land Rover, Infinity, Jaguar, and Alfa Romeo now carry lower Price Premiums.

    • Demand for used Teslas is very strong with sales up 50% in six months, and limited supply available, so expect prices to rise before they go lower again.

    • The latest price drops have been a knock-on effect of Tesla’s December and January price cuts for new Teslas, which are now baked in.

    • The price decline has slowed and is rebounding in the last weeks of February and early March, so CoPilot predicts higher prices for used Teslas in March. This will then be partially offset as the most recent price cuts announced on the Model S and Model X flow through to used car prices in a month or two. 

  • In February 2023, used hybrid vehicles were listed at an average price of $41,457, down 0.5% since the previous month. Since peaking in July 2022 at an average listing price of $49,348, used hybrid prices have fallen by 16%.


Domestic Brands:
  • In February 2023, high-volume domestic brands had an average Price Premium of $7,297, or 31%, above projected normal levels.

    • This Premium has held relatively flat from their January 2023 level of $7,187 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.

Foreign Brands:
  • In February 2023, the Price Premium for high-volume foreign brands averaged $5,671, or 32%, above projected normal levels.

    • This represents a decrease of 1% from their January Premium of $5,865 (or 33%) above normal.
    • In February, among foreign brands, used Kias had the highest Price Premium, listed at $6,068, or 39%, above projected normal levels. They were followed by used Toyotas, which had a Price Premium of $5,656, or 26%, above projected normal levels, and used Volkswagens, whose February Premium was $5,296,or 31%, above normal.

Luxury Brands:
  • In February 2023, the Price Premium for luxury used car brands averaged $8,628, or 28%, above projected normal levels.

    • This represents an increase of 1% in absolute terms from their January 2023 Premium of $8,416 (or 27%) above normal.
    • Porsche had the highest absolute Price Premium among luxury brands, listed at $12,329, or 18%, above projected normal levels.
    • They were followed by used Genesis and Cadillac, which had Price Premiums of $8,223 (or 24%) and $7,765 (or 27%), respectively.
    • Brands with poor reliability reputations, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, and Land Rover command some of the lowest Price Premiums.


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.

Media Contact:

Kerry Close


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