Manheim is reporting that conditions in the UK automotive market are the most positive it has seen in four years, with volumes of used vehicles sold through Manheim's auctions up by nearly 20% during the first four months of 2013.
Higher consumer demand for new and used vehicles, fuelled by attractive new vehicle offers and an increased availability of finance deals, has led to a stronger than expected performance for the first four months of 2013 across the entire automotive market.
This comes hot on the heels of the Bank of England's recent upward revision of its economic growth forecast for 2013, adding to a sense of optimism among UK businesses.
Figures from the SMMT show that for the first time since 2009, the private buyer has bought more new vehicles than fleet buyers, with a 32% increase in vehicles being purchased during April 2013 compared to April 2012.
This confidence in the new vehicle sector has seen a knock-on increase in sales in the used vehicle wholesale sector.
Reviewing sales on a like-for-like basket of used vehicles and vendors Manheim has seen that the wider wholesale used vehicle market has seen more than an 8.5% rise in the number of used vehicles sold through auction in the first four months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
The growth of the wider wholesale part exchange market has particularly fuelled this growth, rising 23.5% year on year.
Manheim enjoyed an even more buoyant start to the year by outperforming the general wholesale market's growth through new customer wins, selling 19% more cars than it did during the same period in 2012.
This rise in demand included a 39% increase in part exchange vehicles and a 42% increase in sales of cars direct from the manufacturer. The result of this growth is that Manheim's market share of the wholesale used car market has grown by nearly nine per cent over the last year.
In addition, Manheim has increased its buyer base by more than 20% during the first four months of 2013, helping to drive its strong sales performance.
Michael Buxton, chief operating officer of Manheim, said: "April surpassed January's record-breaking performance to become Manheim's best ever month.
“We sold the most vehicles during this month in our 65 year history.
“Manheim's growth in market share is underpinned by significant customer wins from the likes of Peugeot and Citroën in the manufacturer sector and Marshall and Pendragon in the dealer sector."
Buxton continued: "Customers are turning to Manheim because we have invested heavily in products and services to help both buyers and sellers; from new grading and online auction technology through the re-launch of Simulcast to help buyers make more effective purchase decisions through to Seller Advance that helps dealers more effectively value and dispose of part exchange vehicles."
Other research shows that Manheim has a market leading first time conversion rate and are selling wholesale cars by an average £100, or 2.1%, more than the market norm.