THIS year’s prestige 4×4 market has failed to bring all it promised back in October and November.
Dealers are well stocked and availability is better than in recent years, which all adds up to falling prices – it seems the 2012 four wheel drive scene is not going to be quite as hot is it was during the previous couple of years.
The reasons are plentiful, but they all come back to the snow… or lack of it. It is always dangerous to assume that two hard winters equal a trend, however not content with not snowing, the weather has been extremely mild.
And an absence of heavy frosts or icy conditions has resulted in a serious lack of pressure for drivers to rush out and buy 4x4s. Many dealers have been left with nowhere to go – the first loss will be the best loss, as prices paid back in late 2011 are unlikely to add up to any kind of margin the longer it is left.
There is one bright spot. BMW’s excellent new X3, is still in high demand. Availability is short, and so stellar prices are still being paid from both the trade and the private punter. However a word of caution – at some point this will change, availability will improve and, with the Audi Q3 landing as a used car in the not too distant future, this looks like a bubble that will burst before long.
For most of the 4×4 sector (especially the lumpy models), next month’s guide sees falls of between one to five per cent – it’s very much a case of buyer beware.
Richard Crosthwaite, prestige car editor at Glass’s