Used market stable

Time 4:18 am, December 9, 2011

used_car_windscreenUSED car values end the year with smaller falls than usual for December, reports CAP Black Book.

According to CAP, the average reduction in used car trade values of 1.8 per cent reported in the December edition of benchmark price guide Black Book was smaller than the historical ‘norm’.

The unusual stability in used car prices at a time when larger falls are typically recorded reflects a continuing delicate balance between supply and demand in what is still an essentially fragile market.

According to Black Book, a recent snapshot of more than 100 dealers’ experience of sourcing retail quality stock revealed 73 per cent of independents having difficulty, compared with 59 per cent of franchised dealers, who benefit from first choice of manufacturer used stock.

In terms of stock levels, 80 per cent of independents described their own as too low, compared with just 47 per cent of their franchised counterparts. Crucially, however, these complaints revolve around the quality rather than quantity of vehicles available.

CAP also believes the ongoing stability of the market will be heavily dependent on the volume of nearly new cars which enter the marketplace in the coming weeks, driven by the hunger in some quarters to meet new car registration targets.

Black Book editor, Mark Bulmer, said: ‘Much will depend on the behaviour of manufacturers in relation to pre-reg and late plate supply. One major volume player has a vast quantity of metal to shift which, at recent rates, could take up to 9 months to move on.

‘In general there is a lot of late plate stock around and this was illustrated recently when scrutiny of one major trade and retail website revealed 88,000 cars available up to one year old.

‘That said, there is still very significant demand for older vehicles around the £3-4k price mark and those who specialise in turning these around for retail are enjoying very strong trading.

‘Bearing in mind the cautionary note around pre-registering and late plate supply levels we still expect dealers to be out in the marketplace actively seeking stock in the lead up to the New Year and possibly into January.

‘After all, the lessons of being caught short in early 2009 will not be easily forgotten.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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