Fleet News

Call to scrap used car market dismissed by industry experts

THE head of an international consultancy group has forecast the end of the used car market, saying the value of second-hand cars will go the same way as second-hand washing machines. Michael Jackson, chairman of Jackson Consultancy Group, said used cars were killing the UK's motor industry and should be phased out. But residual value forecasters and major auction houses have condemned his ideas.

'White goods were once luxury items and there was a thriving trade in old washing machines and spare parts. Now people only buy new because the price is right,' said Jackson. 'With the massive turnover generated by a new-only market the price of a new car would drop significantly too. So the new car sales operation becomes vastly more profitable. Customers win because they get peace of mind, vast choice, no hassles, no service or reliability problems, no distress purchases and a safer, smarter vehicle every time.'

His arguments are fatally flawed, however, according to Mark Norman, editor of CAP Future Residual Values. 'The reason four times as many people buy used cars, is because four times as many people can afford them. Just because you stop selling used cars, people would not instantly start buying new ones. So the resale profit of used cars disappears for dealers, and they have to up the price of new cars,' he said.

John Bailey, chief executive of ICA, asking: 'Is it April Fools Day? Commenting on these views is rather like commenting on whether the end of the world is nigh or whether the Martians are about to land. Tom Madden, British Car Auction's director - customer affairs, added: 'Used cars are the life-blood of the industry and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. People buy used cars on price. They may aspire to buying new, but if they can't afford it they buy the best used car they can afford.'

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