'In the upper and medium car sector the new-shape Mondeo has proved a winner in the nearly-new market,' he said. Escort has also performed well, although Wilkinson warned of a fall-off in values in 1998 as the launch of the model's replacement approaches.
Executive cars enjoyed a good year in the second-hand market, with prices coming under pressure only in the last quarter, although companies looking to include these models on their fleet should beware that buyers now expect such cars to come with very high specifications. 'The public has been well educated and now expects all the bells and whistles - and why not, as even everyday cars now come equipped to a high standard,' said Wilkinson.
This year has not been as easy for auction companies as 1996, with auctioneers having to work hard for bids, and typical three-year-old ex-fleet cars in short supply, according to Andrew Timmis, sales and marketing director of National Car Auctions. He said much of the growth in leasing companies' fleets had come in one-year-old cars, rather than the traditional three-year contracts, and with the market moving towards an over-supply situation these had proved harder to sell.