Fleet News

There may be more trouble ahead

##CAPsml--left####Martin Ward--right##WE are into June already and the second half of the year promises to be somewhat turbulent and uncertain. Auctions are currently still reporting steady trade and sales are achieving about 70% conversion, but as we approach summer the retail market could go any way.

There is still a certain amount of concern as to the effect that the new format number plate system will have on new car sales, and consequently used car stock, when it comes into effect on September 1. As the public and company car drivers begin to realise that the change of system is around the corner, many are predicting that they will begin to wait until September to have a significantly different plate on their new car. This would leave a huge void in part exchanges in July and August and a motor trade with a shortage of nice used cars.

We could see this forcing prices up for the most sought-after vehicles during a limited period, but the over-abundance of high mileage cars will no doubt continue. Some leasing companies are also considering waiting until September to ensure that they will be selling used cars with the new-style plate in years to come.

This, of course, has advantages and disadvantages. They will have the advantage of cars with a better image, and therefore possibly better residuals in the future. However they will be selling vehicles this September in what is likely to be a very crowded used car marketplace, as more than the usual number of part exchanges hit forecourts from those seeking something new and different.

The answer in a perfect world would be to dispose of as many used cars as possible mid-summer, and to register all new cars in September. Of course the perfect world doesn't exist, but a bit of planning at this stage may not go amiss. Problems with planning do not just affect companies of course - transport planners are far from immune.

Our roads could actually have to take up to 200,000 new cars that were not expected because of flawed statistics. While all new domestic car registrations are reported by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the figures do not include parallel imports. These are cars not originally destined for the UK, but imported from European dealerships.

Many Y-reg delivery mileage cars currently on offer at dealerships are actually parallel imports from Europe. And there is a constant flow of European registered trucks bringing in more.

Dealers in some European countries have geared themselves up to do this business over the past couple of years and they are not going to suddenly give up on those lucrative deals. This issue affects us all, because road transport policy is based partly on the SMMT new car registration figures, but there could be 200,000 cars unaccounted for. This is also important in calculating future values for today's cars.

FNN allows you to search for REAL prices reached by REAL vehicles sold at the country's leading car auctions. To start your search click here.

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