Motor Trader - Self-regs take 30% of UK new car sales – CAP

Valuation guide Cap has piled into the self-registration debate, saying their numbers have risen in 2012 and now account for nearly three in every 10 new cars sold in the UK.

“Pre-registrations are certainly increasing this year. Research by CAP has consistently revealed that a very significant proportion of new car sales reported by the SMMT would qualify for the term self-registered,” said Philip Nothard – retail and consumer valuation editor, CAP

“The recent publicity around the picture in Germany suggests very little difference from the UK. Over there the figure was put at three in every 10 new cars registered and those figures tally quite closely with our own research,” he added.

Nothard said a glut of self registered cars inevitably led to decline in values but this was not the full story.

“Clearly if a dealer is able to offer a new car at up to 30% - in some cases even more – discount, then the value of the nearly new car will inevitably have to slip to maintain its appeal. This then cascades down through the age bands.

“While this is obviously an issue for those – such as large fleets – who are exposed to used car risk, it is questionable whether this negative outweighs the positive aspects.

“It is interesting to note how loaded questions around the issue of pre-registrations can be. Often the issue is quantified in terms like ‘is it as bad as it used to be?’.

“Pre-registrations give hard-pressed dealers a source of profit in a tough economic trough. They bring good quality part-exchanges in – which represents another profit opportunity. This then feeds through into further opportunities for add-on sales, such as finance, plus aftersales revenue.”

Nothard said his personal view is that the alternative – of laying factory workers off and hurting the suppliers who also depend on them – is not realistic.

“A strong argument can now be made for bringing self-registrations out of the shadows and reporting them alongside the industry’s other statistics. It is, after all, the worst kept secret in the industry,” he said.

Motor Trader - 10th August

Mike Hind