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Repos reach all-time high

January8 @ 4:28 pm

Vehicle repossessions reached an all-time high last year, according to vehicle auction service Manheim. 1.67 million vehicles were repossessed, a 12 percent climb over the year before. A Manheim auction analyst said that he expects repos to rise a little in 2008, but that he also expects the wholesale market to stabilize or even rise a little.

“They will certainly be up in first half of this year, and with the labor market deteriorating so substantially, it might be up quite a bit and might offset the decline I expect in the second half of the year,” Manheim’s Tom Webb said during a media conference call earlier today.

The wholesale market has taken a beating the last few months as a result of dwindling credit and hefty new car inventories at dealerships. Webb said that he expects it to stabilize over time as new car inventories begin to drop. Currently, most dealerships are overloaded with unsold new cars - meaning that new car discounts often put vehicles in the range of late-model used cars. But with decreased production, record incentives and the thawing of the credit freeze, expect those inventories to drop.

New car sales to rental fleets are also down substantially - about 20 percent. Webb said that he wouldn’t expect sales to rental fleets to “rebound any time soon.”

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