Used compact, hybrid car values on the rise

(March 20, 2012) IRVINE, Calif. — Kelley Blue Book reports that used compact-car values are on the rise and could reach the same 20 percent gains seen in 2011.  According to Kelley Blue Book's Book Market Report for March, values of used fuel-efficient compacts increased a modest 0.4 percent in February; however, values picked up significant momentum during the last weeks of the month. 

In the last week of February, used compacts increased 1.3 percent, while hybrid cars increased a more substantial 3.6 percent.

Used Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Values Begin to Climb





Change for Week Ending:

Auction Values



Feb 10

Feb 17

Feb 24

Mar 2

Feb 3

Mar 2

Total Change

Hybrid Car








Compact Car








Subcompact Car








Note: All changes reflect values of MY09-11 vehicles


"The 2010 Toyota Prius led in gains, increasing in value $1,370 through the month of February," said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book.  "Dealers have been aggressively bidding on fuel-efficient vehicles at auction as consumer demand increases in response to rising gas prices.  If the past is any indication of things to come, Kelley Blue Book could see values of used fuel-efficient vehicles increase more than 20 percent during the course of the next few months."

In 2011, fuel-efficient vehicle values reached record levels in response to gas prices approaching $4 per gallon, and if fuel prices continue on their current trajectory, Kelley Blue Book expects to see a similar trend this year. 

Values of fuel-efficient vehicles will only remain elevated as long as fuel prices remain high, so if fuel prices were to ease, expect values to return to normal levels.  Kelley Blue Book advises dealers to stock up on inventory sooner rather than later, since values likely will increase sharply during the next 30 to 60 days.