BCA’s communications director Tony Gannon said: “The back end of 2007 has not been the easiest period for used car sales, as demand softened just as supply increased notably for the first time since mid-2006.
"Consequently we saw pressure on values as buyers cherry-picked the best retail quality cars, but often overlooked less-attractive stock unless it was very keenly valued.
"Cars needing cosmetic repairs or offered with inadequate pre-sale preparation were particularly difficult to remarket during this period.
“Our Pulse data reflected this in the performances recorded against CAP Clean for ex-fleet cars and part-exchange stock.
"Both sectors hit significant lows late in the year as vendors focused on keeping the metal moving rather than achieving arbitrary benchmarks.
“Even the best examples endured some price pressure if they were offered without the appropriate documentation.
"The value of a full service history is significant to the motor trade, particularly if business conditions are tough and on high value prestige product missing history can cost the seller hundreds of pounds.
Business was a little brisker in December as the bigger buyers – including the car supermarkets – began acquiring stock, Mr Gannon said, for the New Year.
The base rate cut of 0.25% early in December may help to stimulate interest from consumers at the retail level.
If the market does experience some positive changes in retail demand in the future, we will quickly see the effects in the wholesale markets.
While supply levels remain adequate, if retail demand for used cars changes this will have ramifications in the remarketing sector and this is usually reflected in price.
Looking ahead, it remains to be seen if the traditional spike in values will occur in January.
"If it does, we would expect to see values remaining firm until the post-Easter period – subject to other economic pressures, of course."
Mr Gannon concluded: “One thing we can be confident of is the continued ‘consolidation’ of the vendor base which is creating increasing numbers of large-volume customers in the remarketing sector.
"This will make the remarketing process ever more business critical for these customers and companies supplying these services will need to deliver innovative, efficient and value-added solutions.
"It all adds up to a huge choice of vehicles for professional buyers, which must be a good thing when it comes to serving the needs of increasingly sophisticated retail customers.”