This is the time of year when an expected slow down in both retail and trade buying becomes prevalent. The first to witness this happening is often the retail sector when the private buyer refrains from spending, probably in anticipation of an expensive Christmas period. The trade then follows suit as full forecourts struggle to shift stock.
Reports suggest that sales in September started at a rate of knots, helped by the hype of the all-new registration system. But during the past week the market showed signs of slowing down and this is expected to continue during October and November.
Although this is traditionally a quiet period, there are those in the trade who are planning to actively buy stock while prices remain lower than in previous months. They are counting on a repeat of last December, when values stabilised or rose in anticipation of the usual market lift in January.
Trade buyers continue to target Cap clean cars. It is crucial for large executive cars to have a good trim level, such as a leather interior combined with an automatic gearbox.
However all cars from large executives to small town cars must be ready to retail, needing little or no refurbishment, and accompanied with service history or at least guaranteed mileage. This ensures the dealer has maximum time for retail and eliminates the problem of the car disappearing in the preparation department for a week or two. This is a particular concern at the moment, with the fear of market movements for the coming month.
LPG is an area of the market that should be approached with care. Vehicles that are fitted with LPG by the manufacturer are deemed by most in the trade as acceptable, as they have been professionally installed and checked with all the relevant safety criteria met.
But retail customers appear to be reluctant to buy these cars, as much of the boot space is lost to the extra fuel tank. There is also the fear that the price for LPG seems to be climbing on a weekly basis. The retail sector may also be unaware of any benefits of this fuel because there is a general lack of knowledge.
The real area for caution is retrofit LPG, as almost anyone can fit this alternative fuel to vehicles without the stringent guidelines that manufacturers have to adhere. This mainly applies to the bigger 4x4 vehicles, as the trend for large V8 engines is to have them converted to reduce expensive running costs.
The other problem related to this type of conversion is that the fuel tank is underneath the vehicle, reducing its ground clearance, which could be a major safety concern if it is used off road.