Post-lockdown pent-up used car demand is beginning to become apparent.
That’s according to near-prime specialist Startline Motor Finance, which says February and March to date have been very busy.
It said it was getting feedback that customers were buying cars for the summer or to collect once showrooms reopen.
Chief executive Paul Burgess said: ‘We’re not talking about a dam-burst of demand suddenly being unleashed in the market or perhaps even the kind of sudden, strong demand that we saw last summer, but there’s a detectable sense of the market just starting to rev up.
‘What is probably happening is that there is a general sense of optimism as the vaccination programme rolls out relatively quickly and a gradual return to some kind of normality looks to be in reach.
‘This inevitably feeds through into increased consumer confidence, which is a major influence on used car sales.
‘We’ve already predicted that we believe 2021 could be a better year than many imagined and that situation seems to be developing.’
Burgess added that if there was to be a downturn in the used car market, it would likely be during the fourth quarter and into 2022, when various forms of ongoing economic support by the government are stopped.
‘We now know that, for example, furloughing will end in September. This is being done in a relatively responsible manner, tapering off over some months, but there will almost certainly be quite a number of jobs lost.
‘The truth is that we are in such an unprecedented situation that no one really knows what will happen at that point. We could see a rebound of the economy, a sudden loss of consumer confidence, or both.
‘However, what has become abundantly clear over the past year is that the used car market is incredibly resilient, and for that reason, we remain confident that it will continue to perform ahead of expectations.’
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