Fleet News

Used cars, used cars everywhere...

'There are used cars everywhere and as each day arrives, then so do more. The trade is now more picky than ever and with the amount of stock around to choose from, they can afford to be.

Auctions are reporting a conversion rate of about 50% which, at this time of year, is fairly low.

Dealers are stocked up and, with a predicted slowdown in activity over the coming weeks, they are now ultra- cautious.

So what can be done to stimulate business? Price is usually a good start, but does the public suddenly rush out to buy used cars simply if prices are reduced? Not normally, because there are other factors involved in car-buying.

The danger is that some disposers out there will take the decision to get rid of vehicles, whatever the bid, and this could cause a temporary freefall in prices until things get back to normal - whenever that is.

Prestige cars at a premium

PREMIUM and prestige cars are doing well at auction, as public taste gradually shifts from the typical ex-fleet car to something, in their view, a bit special or different. Demand for this type of car should continue to flourish, but the shift away from some bread and butter cars is leaving many unsold and the simple fact is that there are just too many cars around. With the best will in the world, combined with all the sophisticated and well tried routes to market, the problem will only worsen in the coming months.

Rover 75 finally proves its worth

THE Rover 75 was launched just over three years ago. It didn't get off to a particularly good start, with much of the industry finding it fashionable to criticise the Rover Group and the 75 seemed doomed even before it hit the roads.

The trade was on a downer with Rover Group itself, rather than the car specifically, and people assumed that residual values would go the same way as the Rover 600 and 800. Of course in reality it was an all-new car, but proving that wasn't easy for Rover. It positioned it originally against competition that made some smile, saying it was well above its station.

But three years on, how is the 75 faring in the market?

Those who were brave enough to take the cars new in 1999 are achieving probably better money than they would have ever dreamed of.

Putting some 75s on the fleet, instead of some other more mainstream cars, has certainly helped them. The 75 has not turned out a bad car at all and as a used car it is proving very popular.

The exception is examples in Old English White but the rest of the colour range is very acceptable. Rover has certainly turned things around in a very short time. Nobody buying a used 75 has to prove to their friends that they have not gone mad. The image and build quality offer a 'feel good' factor and give the impression that the 75 is a great bargain, as well as something that stands out from the crowd.

Trade confidence is gradually returning for MG Rover as the current management remains absolutely dedicated to making the future live up to all expectations. There are still some to convince but overall the company is winning.'

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