Fleet News

Finicky buyers are causing problems

'The more people I speak to in the trade, the more confusing the industry is getting because there is no identifiable pattern to the current state of new or used car sales.

Deals and bonuses are artificially stoking the market and the fact is that if offers are withdrawn, showroom traffic grinds to a halt. The used car market, on the other hand, is not quite so simple and everybody has their own interpretation of past, present or future fortunes. Good cars are doing well at auction but traders are complaining that there aren't enough of them.

One thing for certain is that it's increasingly difficult to please the trade. Of the thousands of cars readily available, most are dismissed as the wrong colour, unsatisfactory spec, the wrong engine, wrong bhp, too many (or too few) doors, too many miles or – probably the real reason in many cases – too expensive.

Dealers and traders now have 'shopping lists' featuring exactly what they want and what they'll pay, which means anything that falls outside these parameters can find itself unwanted.

Buyers are so picky now that the normal nine-to-five day has extended in many cases into the evening so they can continue the hunt for the perfect cars. And they're trying auctions they would previously have considered outside their patch, all in a bid to keep the finicky private buyer happy.

Part of the reason, too, is that many are reporting lower-than- expected demand and differentiating yourself from the competition is obviously an important issue at times like this.

That is why, despite a quietish market, the scramble for good stock continues. The significance of this for disposers is inescapable. Good prices are being achieved in a market that is less than on fire, which means something will have to give at some point.'

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