Used car sales are down compared to last year. But, don't expect prices to come down. Industrywide used-vehicle sales fell to 9.7 million units in the first quarter, down 6 percent from the first quarter of last year, according to Edmunds.com's Used Car Market Quarterly Report.

Of the used vehicles sold in the quarter, franchise dealerships accounted for about 2,288,600 units, 4 percent more than in the first quarter of 2012. The remaining sales were made up by independent used car dealers and private party transactions.

Believe it or not, the high prices of used cars are helping to push new car sales. New car sales gains come even as car prices bubble up near all-time highs, offset by near-historic low interest rates for new-car loans and by longer terms for them--up 72 months or more. Kelley Blue Book says the average price of a new car dipped slightly last month by a half-percent, but remains high at $31,356, up more than $150 from a year ago.

According to the Washington Post, the strong used-vehicle prices are supporting new-vehicle demand and are reflective of the general pricing discipline being exhibited by new-vehicle manufacturers.

“...Consumer spending remains remarkably stronger than the economy suggests it should be,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “If the current favorable trend in the stock markets and housing continues throughout the year, the automotive market may be poised for a breakthrough performance.”

The automakers themselves are upbeat about prospects of new car sales for the remainder of the year.

And on the used car side of the equation, Edmunds.com reports that of the used vehicles sold in the quarter, franchise dealerships accounted for about 2,288,600 units, 4 percent more than in the first quarter of 2012. The remaining sales were made up by independent used car dealers and private party transactions.

Additionally, Edmunds says sales of certified used vehicles rose 6 percent to 483,109 compared with the first quarter of 2012 and made up 21.1 percent of franchised dealerships' used vehicle sales.

The average retail price for used vehicles sold at franchised dealerships was $15,793, a 0.5 percent decline year-over-year.

The top-selling used mid-sized car in the quarter was the Honda Accord; the top selling used compact car was the Honda Civic; and the top selling full-sized pickup was the Ford F-150.