Tax reform, government shutdown might affect used car industry


The used car industry might be negatively impacted by the government shutdown, tax reform and whether 2019 tax filers made the appropriate adjustments to their 2018 withholdings as used vehicle prices remain 2% higher than they would’ve been without an abnormal price rise as a result of tariffs over the summer, an economist said.

Smoke discussed the potential impact of tax reform as part of a recent report on the used car industry in a quarterly conference call that included Zo Rahim, research manager at Cox Automotive. They also presented the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index for December, which rose 4.3% to 137.6, from the same month in 2017.

“The concern here is that it’s a surprise,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive, adding that Home Depot recently reported its employees hadn’t made changes to their tax withholdings. “This will be a surprise for many people. Just that surprise alone, forget the government shutdown, could potentially cause filing and any refunds that are still being issued to be collectively hitting the economy later than normal.

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