2008 Great Recession: Autotrader


To find information regarding Autotrader's reasons for surviving the Great Recession of 2008, the possible challenges faced by the auto broker industry during the recession, and competitors that didn't survive the recession.

Early Findings

  • Between 2003 and 2014, there was an annual increase in the average mileage for a typical auction purchase of $5,000. This slowed down during the 2008 recession. The average mileage dropped below 120,000 miles between 2015 and 2016.
  • During the recession, auto sales were negatively affected by the toxic combination of crashing housing prices, high cost of consumer credit, and collapsing values of used cars.
  • Tighter credit for both buyers and dealers in addition to higher fuel prices led to an industry wide fall in U.S. car sales. Sales fell below one million for the first time in over 15 years.
  • During the 2008-2009 recession, auto sales decreased. The industry survived the recession and sales have been rising in the past few years.
  • The largest drop in the number of auto brokers occurred during the 2008 Great Recession. Currently, auto brokers in small communities typically outnumber those in cities.
  • Millennials didn't enter the car-buying market between 2008 and 2009 due to the economic challenges of the Great Recession.

Proposed next steps:

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While our early research was unable to uncover any data specific to Autotrader, we were able to find information on the industry as a whole. As such, we would recommend continued research to find information on how Autotrader survived the 2008 Great Recession. This would include information on what challenges it faced, how it overcame the challenges, and any available financial reports.
We would also recommend proceeding with research to provide 2-3 case studies of auto brokers that didn't survive the 2008 Great Recession. For each case study, we would include the reasons why the company failed to survive, the events surrounding its final collapse, and any available financial reports from 2007-2009.