In his review of the year, Glass's Information Services' market intelligence consultant Alan Cole said that 2003 had not had any of the 'peaks and troughs' of previous years, meaning the supply of used cars and retail demand 'had never been better'.
He said: 'The main driving force behind the success of the year was the very high level of customer spending fuelled by record levels of mortgage equity that led to increased borrowing.
'Buoyant retail demand for used cars went hand-in-hand with rapid turnover and stock shortages for used cars. Retained used car profit was further enhanced by the fact that monthly stock devaluation was lower than the previous year because used car prices improved steadily from the beginning of this year.'
Cole added: 'Although the future economic outlook may not be quite as rosy as it has been after the first increase in interest rates for four years, it is by no means gloomy.
'The balance between the overall supply of used cars and retail demand has never been better, a situation which augurs well for the immediate future of the used car market.'