According to CAP Black Book, high supplies of standard fleet cars, coupled with subdued retail demand is keeping a lid on prices. As a result, the trade is increasingly keen to find something different to offer and buyers are responding.
However, not all models are enjoying the same success, as some sports derivative used values are moving closer to their mainstream cousins.
Tony Styles, Black Book senior editor, said: 'Along with more manageable insurance premiums for many performance vehicles, this means some sports derivatives in the mainstream market becoming stronger price performers by the month.'
Cars that have extended their value lead include the Ford Mondeo 2.5 Zetec S, Nissan Almera 1.8 Sport +, Subaru Impreza 2.0 WRX Turbo and Volkswagen Golf 2.0 GTi. Car styling and relative scarcity is more important than the badge, according to Styles.
He said: 'The trade is constantly telling us how tired the market is with the normal fleet derivatives at the LX and LS trim level and it is no surprise that a car will generally have more appeal if it carries sporty features.'
When retail demand is sluggish, forecourt appeal is all important, he added, and cars that look sufficiently different compared with the standard offering, are performing significantly better.
On the other hand, where most of the difference is hidden under the bonnet, with few visual clues to the sporting nature of the car, the residual value performance is not as impressive.
Styles added: 'Our research also belies the general assumption in the trade that all sporting derivatives are marching ahead in terms of desirability. The challenge for dealers and fleet buyers is to look beyond the letters after the model name or the engine specification and identify those cars with real visual appeal as well as enhanced performance.'
|Residual value comparisons|
|Make and model||Aug '02||July '03|
|Ford Mondeo 1.8 LX:||£7,550||£6,575|
|Ford Mondeo 2.5 Zetec S:||£8,925||£8,150|
|Sports price premium:||£1,375||£1,575|
|Nissan Almera 1.5 SE:||£5,650||£5,275|
|Nissan Almera 1.8 Sport+:||£6,250||£6,375|
|Sports price premium:||£600||£1,100|
|Subaru Impreza 2.0 GL:||£8,625||£6,700|
|Subaru Impreza Turbo:||£14,400||£13,400|
|Sports price premium:||£5,775||£6,700|
|Volkswagen GOlf 1.6 16v SE:||£8,675||£8,250|
|Volkswagen Golf 2.0 GTi:||£9,875||£9,775|
|Sports price premium:||£1,200||£1,525|