With all but one powersports vehicle category on the rise in March it’s clear that spring is here, buyer confidence is up and retail customers are gearing up for the riding season.
On-highway categories saw a small but noticeable increase in Average Wholesale Pricing (AWP) in March as compared to the prior three months – domestic cruiser AWP was up five percent while metric cruisers increased six percent and sport bikes just missed double digits with a nine percent increase.
Off-road AWP rose as well over the prior three months with the ATV category up six percent, while the MX category rose 15 percent and the side-by-side category is up 7 percent. Note that wholesale ATV volumes in 2013 were less than half of the volume we saw in 2010 and if we continue to see the volume of wholesale off-road units (ATV, SxS and MX) decrease, we expect off-road prices will hold steady into summer while other categories begin to decline.
From a volume perspective, 2014 is continuing the trend towards a shift in the wholesale product mix to a larger share of domestic and metric cruiser volumes at the same time the share of off-road has shrunk. This is primarily due to consumer preference and the credit policies of banks the last few years favoring street motorcycles, as well as the fact that dealers are still learning the value of consigning off-road products to auction like they do for street motorcycles.
Seasonality and Trade-Ins/Off The Street Purchases
One certainty in the world of pre-owned powersports vehicles is that prices spring in the spring and fall in the fall. March’s performance is a perfect example and provides helpful guidance to savvy dealers. For example, when wholesale prices are high it can be a perfect time to be more aggressive with trades or buy off the street to sell at auction.
Also, the decline in wholesale pricing typically starts in June, so now is the time to take that into account – when taking trades or buying off the street as spring winds down, factor in the wholesale value for those units can be 5-10 percent less in the summer or fall when you might need to unload them rather than paying last month’s top dollar. This can make for a much better inventory management experience later – rather than being heavily underwater on a unit you no longer need in your inventory, you can liquidate it quickly via auction in the summer or fall without taking a big loss.
The best way to stay ahead of the curve is to know your market and use tools like the NADA powersports guide and the NPA Value Guide. These tools will give you true wholesale values nationwide and their history of values from the past will give you the insights you need to use seasonality to your advantage.
NADA VALUE GUIDE
NPA VALUE GUIDE
MPN has partnered with National Powersport Auctions (NPA) to provide our readers with a monthly recap of pre-owned wholesale powersport sales results. NPA is the largest provider of pre-owned vehicles. All data is owned by NPA and provided to MPN specifically for this column. For more information, please visit www.npauctions.com or call 888.292.5339.