The last week has seen a reversal in the used car market, accompanied by a lack of enthusiasm among buyers. BCA has been warning recently that fleets should not expect 'top-notch' prices and Manheim Auctions has seen normally buoyant manufacturer sales experience a dive in conversion rates. In the first three months of this year, dealers have been stocking their forecourts with top-quality used vehicles in readiness for selling over Easter.
But Tom Madden, BCA customer affairs' director, issued a cautionary note: 'Prices for three-year-old/60,000-mile vehicles have been much stronger and there's been a better conversion rate and value than for late-year vehicles all year. We have seen three months of superb trading, but the used car market is showing signs of weakening. Traders are loathe to take in too much stock until they see how business is over Easter. If trading is good, the used market will accelerate.'
But Andrew Shepherd, senior group auctioneer at Manheim Auctions, was more gloomy. 'Up and down the country the market has gone from being very good to very poor without any indication that it was going to happen. All national fleet vendors need to quickly re-assess their prices and need to react immediately to this sudden change. Bids on many vehicles are well down on the past three months.'