Statistics compiled by R. L. Polk & Co, the automotive market intelligence company, indicate that used car sales grew by 8.6% in the second quarter of this year compared to the first three months, totalling 1,969,448 transactions between April and June.
Polk analysed data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and discovered that in the first quarter of 2002, new car sales were 41.5% ahead of the same period in 2001, while used car sales were just 6.1% ahead.
However, in the second quarter new car sales were 16.6% down on January to March 2002, while used car volumes rose by 8.6%.
As a result, the ratio of new to used car sales stood at 1:3.13 in the second quarter, compared to 1:2.88 last year, an improvement of the supply demand equation in favour of vendors, which should enhance residual values.
In terms of buying used cars, fleets accounted for only 6.6% of acquisitions in the second quarter, although corporate buyers acquired 28.5% of used diesel cars - highlighting the emission appeal of diesel to company car drivers.
And in a welcome piece of good news for the fleet sector, Polk identified a 14.9% rise in transactions of two-to three year-old cars, typical ex-fleet stock.
In the faster-cycle sector of the market, the sale of nearly new cars represented 26% of new car sales in the first half of 2002, compared to 25.5% last year and 28% in 2000.
Significantly, however, the disposal of daily rental cars accounted for less than half the 'fast churn' cars in 2001, and Polk forecasts that the proportion could be even lower this year as hire firms scale back their fleets as a consequence of September 11.
However, with pre-registration of unsold models by manufacturers now transparent due to the New Car Sales Order of 2000, Polk reports that: 'volume manufacturers are still equally dependent on other means of clearing new car inventory that is exchanged within a year of first registration.'
Vauxhall had the highest proportion of nearly-new sales, at 28,228 units, ahead of Ford with 27,552 units.
The top ten used brands' market shares and used car volumes in the first half of 2002
Ford: 421,579 (21.4%)
Vauxhall: 285,402 (14.5%)
Peugeot: 144,318 (7.3%)
Rover: 141,381 (7.2%)
Renault: 111,258 (5.6%)
Volkswagen: 110,188 (5.6%)
Nissan: 88,350 (4.5%)
Fiat: 66,020 (3.4%)
BMW: 62,016 (3.1%)
Citroen: 60,958 (3.1%)
Others: 478,576 (24.3%)