Manheim has uncovered signs that the used car market is staying relatively strong against a background of economic concern.
Figures from the auction house giant show that while overall used car values fell from the third quarter to the fourth in 2007, the drop was in line with the seasonal norm and up year-on-year.
Values also rose in January against December, 2007.
In the final three months of last year, average used car values fell 3.4% to £6,534 against the period July to September, but were up by an average of £356 or 5.7% against the fourth quarter of 2006.
Values in the fleet and dealer sectors remained strong, although manufacturer-sourced late plate models came under the most pressure.
During January, overall used car values rose from December by between 5% and 8%, depending on the sector.
Volumes in the market rose by at least 50% across all sources, but Manheim is nevertheless cautious about the longevity of the price increase.
With the UK economy still haunted by uncertainty, the firm says a few more weeks trading needs to be considered before the true extent of the recent uplift is known.
“Despite widespread media coverage of the influence of the credit crunch, together with other negative economic factors, we have seen a healthy increase in sales and values across the Manheim Auctions network during January,” said Manheim’s chief operating officer, Mike Pilkington.
“It’s too early to suggest that the market will experience another year of strong growth in 2008, but the initial signs may suggest that things are not necessarily as bad as reported.
“We will have a better idea of the state of the market in our bulletins at the end of February and into March, when we can better gauge true retail market activity and, of course, the effect of the new plate change.”