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SUV demand ramps up as winter weather arrives

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Wholesale and retail average selling prices for used cars rose in October, according to data from Manheim and Motors.co.uk, along with overall demand for SUVs.

In the wholesale market, stocking time for SUVs fell by two days, while their days to sale in the retail market dropped by four days, as colder weather kicked in and buyers acted early to seek out stock.

The average selling price for all cars in the wholesale market, observed in Manheim’s auctions and online sales channels, increased by 7% from September to £5,910, and was up by 1.3% compared to the same month last year.

Motors.co.uk saw the average selling price of vehicles on its website rise by 3.5% from September and by 8.9% year-on-year, to £12,714 – the highest figure recorded for at least 12 months.

Manheim recorded a 4.2% increase in average selling prices of part-exchange stock from September, rising to £3,842, and a 6.8% uplift in ex-fleet car values, which rose by £9,915.

The average mileage of part-exchange stock in the wholesale market was 72,984, with the average mileage of ex-fleet cars recorded at 40,171 – both figures the lowest they have been for at least 12 months.

Prestige brands saw the biggest increase in values, with average selling prices rising by 1.6% on Motors.co.uk and by 5.6% in Manheim’s auctions. There was positive movement for volume brands, too, with prices rising by nearly 1% in the retail market and by 3.3% in the wholesale market.

Manheim’s investment in improving processes has continued to show clear benefits for customers, with stocking days for both prestige and volume ex-fleet cars recorded at their lowest levels for at least 18 months.

While the number of electric vehicles listed on Motors.co.uk increased by 15.5% from September, the average selling prices rose by 5.5%, indicating higher consumer demand. Meanwhile, diesel cars saw the biggest increase in values in the wholesale market, with prices up by 6.3% from last month.

Year-on-year diesel car prices were stable both at Manheim’s auctions and on Motors.co.uk.

Dermot Kelleher, director of marketing and business intelligence at Motors.co.uk, said: “The rise in average selling prices in the retail market is a positive sign for the automotive sector as a whole, and underlines robust consumer confidence.

“We have seen recent increased interest in electric vehicles, and demand for diesel cars has remained stable, despite the scrutiny under which they have come over the past 12 months.”

Daren Wiseman, head of valuations at Cox Automotive UK, said: “The seasonal trend of increased demand for SUVs continued from the previous month, and we expect for that to remain going into 2017.

“While October typically sees some softening in prices, we delivered strong results for our auction customers and defied some market expectations, which is no doubt in part down to our significant investment in improving operational efficiencies.”

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