What they are: Two closely followed indicators of wholesale used-vehicle prices that are published monthly and semimonthly. Both indices track year-over-year and month-over-month fluctuations in wholesale prices.
Where they come from: Manheim’s index is a measurement of wholesale used-vehicle prices it puts together by tracking vehicles sold at its U.S. auctions and applying statistical analysis to those numbers. Black Book’s index is calculated using its published wholesale average value on 2- to 6-year-old vehicles as a percent of original typically equipped MSRP. The index is also aggregated from daily vehicle value updates and captured “through hundreds of wholesale physical and online auto auctions” in the U.S.
How they’re used: The two indices show ups and downs in wholesale prices, which, in turn, influence retail pricing. Dealers monitor the indicators to get a better picture of the pricing situation at wholesale auctions. In addition to providing historical pricing data, Manheim and Black Book experts provide commentary on retail pricing trends, how consumer habits affect pricing and why wholesale prices of certain vehicle segments undergo depreciation.
How they might be misused: The indices do not incorporate pricing data from every wholesale auction in the U.S., meaning they provide more of a generalized overview. On its index website, Manheim notes the index “should not be considered indicative or predictive” of any individual remarketer’s results.