September 2021 will be remembered in the car industry for all the wrong reasons.
The semiconductor chip crisis, allied with underlying post-lockdown economic uncertainty and stricter lending criteria, delivered the perfect storm to a struggling new car market.
All of which makes selling new cars hard work – if, indeed, you can even get hold of them.
This is leading clever retailers towards stocking up their used car supply, against stiff competition from online resellers and car supermarkets.
The average price of a used car rose by £822 between June and September according to research by Motors.co.uk
Those priced between £10,000 and £15,000 were the most in demand and fastest to sell, which shows both an underlying level of demand in the market that new car availability simply cannot meet and a slightly more positive evaluation of the economy.
Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group, which owns Motors.co.uk, said: ‘The used car market continues to experience an intense period of diverse market dynamics, with some strong price rises being driven by unsated buyer demand, combined with ongoing restrictions in stock supply.
‘On Motors.co.uk we’ve tracked a rise in retail prices since June and expect this to continue into Q4 and possibly beyond.’
Motors.co.uk identified the Ford Edge, MG ZS and Kia Sorento as its most in-demand and fastest-selling used cars, proving that SUVs remain popular with family customers and private motorists.
Meanwhile, according to car sales site Buy My Car, a well-cleaned and maintained car can achieve a sales price of up to 10 per cent more than average.
At the start of 2021, the average used car price in the UK was £14,100, meaning a clean and well-presented car could be worth as much as £1,410 more on average.
But how do used car sales sites ensure that their stock stands out in an increasingly demand-driven market?
Paul Caller, CEO of Autoglym, said: ‘Never has cleaning or detailing used cars been more important, and at Autoglym we offer multiple ways of doing that.
‘The first step is to get your cars detailed and valeted with easy-to-apply, great-quality products from our Professional range.
‘These deliver exceptional, instant and long-lasting results, covering all areas from bodywork and exterior trim to under the bonnet and – of course – inside the cabin.
‘Used car buyers don’t always want to buy a used car, so the job of the valeter is to eradicate all traces of previous ownership.
‘When that’s done, LifeShine comes in – it’s not just for new cars.
‘A lot of people assume that paint and interior protection products can only be applied to new models, but the truth is that used and nearly-new cars – and their owners – can enjoy the same benefits and the same lifetime guarantee.
‘So a LifeShine application to protect that just-cleaned and detailed finish is a smart move.’
That’s great news for customers but also for dealers who previously may only have considered selling LifeShine to new car customers.
It works just as well on a used car, and given the booming values of used cars in a highly competitive market, it makes a lot of sense to give sales staff something incentivised to help out as the car industry continues to face new challenges.
Finally, don’t forget under the bonnet – it’s as important as the exterior and interior – and a great set of photos that highlight how clean the car is.
A clean car minimises the reasons why a customer might walk away or haggle on price.