Good times roll on for independent dealers in the used car market, says CAP

CONFIDENCE continues to soar among independent used car dealers, with an unusually strong late summer performance for retail sales, according to the latest research by CAP Automotive, the car information experts.

In one of the best years dealers can remember in the used car market, August saw increased sales reported by many more dealers than at the same point in 2012.

Used car retail sales have begun to slow down a little for some dealers, but the comparison of year-on-year results across the whole market confirms 2013 as an exceptionally good year for independents.

Each month CAP questions a ‘Dealer Insight Panel’ of around 100 independent used car retailers. It is part of the research for Black Book Live, CAP Automotive’s unique real time used car trade values trending tool, used by businesses across the industry. This research also feeds into CAP’s unique ‘Total Cost of Motoring’ tool, which reveals the true price of car ownership over time, by providing CAP experts with vital data to help forecast car value depreciation.

In the latest survey of 98 dealers across Britain, 67% reported that August brought an increase in used car retail sales compared with July.

This represented a dip from the previous month, when a remarkable 85% reported an increase on June’s figures, but still means dealers have been doing significantly better than at the same point last year.

Five of the dealers questioned about their August performance reported a reduction in sales – compared with only one in the previous month’s survey – but, again, this is a better performance than than in August 2012.

Positive sentiments also dominate when it comes to immediate future expectations. Only two members of the CAP Dealer Insight Panel forecast a “slight decline” in trade over the next quarter while the rest are split between predictions of further growth or maintaining their current level of success.

“By any measure this remains a tremendous year in the UK used car market”, said Mike Hind, of CAP Automotive.

“The industry is dominated by positive headlines and it is clear that the UK car market in general is leading the way when it comes to the recovery of consumer confidence.

“This is, of course, helped by the fact that so many consumers are contrasting the returns they will get from a typical savings account with the benefits they’ll get from replacing their car and consistently opting for a better vehicle.

“There is also good news for many motorists in the on-going difficulty 28% of dealers are reporting in finding the right cars for retail because anyone with a good part-exchange to offer will find a better deal than they might have expected.

“Dealers are still crying out for good part-exchanges and are prepared to offer very good prices for the best examples. With 69% of independent dealers continuing to describe their own stock levels as ‘too low’ this is the time for motorists to take advantage of the situation by making sure their own cars are presented to dealers in the best possible condition for selling on as possible.”