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An Unusual Tax Season Nearing Close

This week's Used Car Market Insights report from Black Book once again focused on how spring in the used-car business is panning out a bit differently from years past.

Throughout tax season this year, Black Book has noticed stronger-than-average retention in the entry midsize car and the upper midsize car segments as well as the compact SUV segment.

Interestingly, as these segments are on the upswing, analysts haven't see the usual tax-season strength in segments such as the entry-level cars and compact cars.

The entry-level cars saw prices slide by $7 last week, while the compact cars saw a slight $6 price increase.

Overall, the car segments saw an average drop of 0.06 percent or $6 last week, while the trucks dropped by 0.05 percent or $7.

The report also pointed out truck price movement is bucking trends, as well. According to Black Book, the truck segments didn't see prices fall dramatically at the end of 2014 and "held up high" in November and December.

"This early buying took the steam out of the usual seasonality resulting in more stable prices over several months," the report stated.

Anil Goyal, vice president of automotive valuation and analytics, said, "Seasonality patterns are looking different this spring as the interest from buyers kept the used-vehicle market more level from the latter part of 2014 into the first quarter of early 2015."

And not only did tax season not impact the usual segments as much, but Black Book also reported patterns of strong price retention in March didn't show up this year.

Black Book analysts contend we may be nearing the latter part of tax season, based on many dealers in the lanes reporting and overall market slowdown.

According to a dealer from Washington state cited by Black Book, "Even though vehicle volume and buyer attendance were both normal today, the market was a little slower this week (last week) compared to last."

This may be due, in part, to dealer starting to collect tax season inventory as far back as late November, which was an "early start" for the industry, according to the report.