EurotaxGlass’s has said that the volume of nearly-new vehicles being offered for sale at the end of 2008 is around 35% lower than was the case during the same period last year, when supply far exceeded demand.
“In late 2007 the supply of 57-plated cars significantly outweighed market demand,” said Adrian Rushmore, managing editor at EurotaxGlass’s.
“This year, by contrast, the number of 58-plated vehicles appears to be more manageable.”
He said the cause was fewer dealer self-registrations and rental companies who are retaining cars for longer.
This trend is likely to continue into 2009, and will be exaggerated by the fact that manufacturers are expected to further restrict supply to hire-car firms, thus limiting used car volumes particularly in the second half of the year, said Mr Rushmore.
A further positive note comes from HPI Used Car Valuations Index, which suggests buyers are shopping around for no-frills used cars.
HPI’s Martin Keighley said: “What we are seeing is that models that have been undesirable in the past, such as medium-sized estates with values the same or less than their hatchback counterparts, are now finding buyers looking for practical alternatives.
"For example, the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra estates cost the same to run but are much more practical, and as such we expect values to stabilise on these.
"Furthermore, it’s just possible clean four, five and six-year-old models may soon start to hold their value and even increase as this pressure is brought to bear.”
However, there it will be a long uphill battle to recover the 29% fall that three-year-old cars have seen wiped off their values in the past 12 months.