Forget New Or Used, Even Wrecked Car Prices Are Hitting Record Highs

Junked-car auctioneer Copart, Inc. (CPRT), or simply Copart, reported earnings this week and said given the stellar growth in new and used car prices this year, wrecked car prices are getting a lot more expensive. 

On Thursday, Copart's CEO Jeffrey Liaw told investors on an earnings call that strong used car prices are a driving force behind "the record average selling prices" for wrecked cars. 

Copart specializes in auctioning wrecked cars that insurers have totaled. The vehicles go to auction and are frequently bought by companies who part out vehicles. Selling prices for wrecked cars surged 20.7% in the most recent quarter versus the same period in 2020. That compares with a 48% jump in the three months ending in April and 35% in the quarter before that. 

Source: Bloomberg 

During the question and answers part of the call with investors, the CEO told Jefferies' Bret Jordan that insurers are totaling cars more quickly because technology has gotten so sophisticated that it might be too expensive to replace and recalibrate sensors in a minor fender bender. The rise in prices gives insurers a more significant economic incentive to total and let Copart auction a car off rather than attempt to fix it. 

"When it comes to the insurance vehicles, yes, more cars are drivable today because a car can be totaled because a rear sensor or front sensor or lane departure warning sensor on the mirror is knocked out and the replacement and calibration is expensive. That yes, there are more run and drive cars as a percentage of the total. 

"If you visited some of our yards, you would be astonished by some of the high-value Range Rovers and European vehicles that you would see on the lots that at least on their surface look perfectly good and perfectly functional — and in many cases are."

Another reason for soaring wrecked car prices is that supply-chain woes in the automotive industry have made it more challenging to find new parts, thus boosting demand for used parts. Also, higher metal prices have made wrecked cars more appealing to scrappers. 

Disclosure: Copyright ©2009-2021 Media, LTD; All Rights Reserved. Zero Hedge is intended for Mature Audiences. Familiarize yourself with our legal and use policies ...

How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience.


Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.