Fleet News

Positive mood as autumn approaches

THE used car market is showing some signs of strengthening after a quiet summer.

There are fewer downward movements of prices in many of the key fleet sectors, with an increased number of customers visiting used car retail sellers, which will have the effect of increased demand by dealers for defleeted cars.

According to September’s CAP Black Book editorial, these trends are backed up by better conversion rates in the leasing sector and higher average prices against CAP, up to 99.6%.

It said: ‘September sees some price strengthening across the market with a negative book movement of just 0.77%. This is based on a representative sample of cars from late plate to seven years old. Taking the book as a whole, September brings positive price movements for 9% of the market, negative value changes for 47% and stability for 44% of models.

‘This supports our measures of dealer sentiment, which have revealed a positive mood moving through August into September. Used car retail sales have been increasing with month-on-month and year-on-year figures improved. Footfall is also increased, although this is still rated only as average to fair.

‘Expectations of immediate future prospects are also showing an improvement – the first rise in dealer sentiment this year since January. Further supporting evidence for the strength of the market comes from the leasing sector which was reporting improved conversion rates during August along with stronger price performance against CAP, averaging 99.6%.

‘This month’s pricing research confirms expectations among leasing companies of a marginal downward movement into September. Looking forward to the next few weeks, vehicle returns from this and the daily rental sector are expected to increase.’

  • The changes to the registration plate have served to wipe out the annual peak and trough in sales – replacing it with two peaks and troughs instead.

    It has also had the effect of pushing down sales in six other months below the levels before the changes came about in September 2001.

    Alan Cole, of Glass’s Market Intelligence Service, said: ‘The introduction of the new age identifier, in September 2001, has caused a decline in residual values for cars with prefix plates, a four-year-old Y plate looks far older to many buyers as eight new plates have been issued since March 2001.

    ‘Finally, the new registration system has complicated the scheduling of new model launches and marketing support for all manufacturers.’

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