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Trade recovers quickly from September 11

"There cannot be a business in the land that will not be affected directly, or indirectly, by the tragic events that occurred on September 11. National and trade press, radio and television have provided us with in-depth commentary and analysis on the consequences and so they should, because that is their job.

Our job, in all adversity, is to apply our best endeavours to run our business successfully and profitably.

Nearly a month on and we can see the very direct effect it has had on business, certainly in terms of volume conversions which stalled noticeably, although there was less impact on prices. There was a significant increase in professional buyers cherry-picking the best vehicles, while less attractive vehicles were largely overlooked.

However, recent signs have shown that the volume is starting to come back. Vendors are selling, dealers are dealing, traders are trading and business has recovered some of the momentum it was exhibiting prior to September 11, indicating the market will inevitably recover fully – as it always has done before.

In taking a positive approach to your day-to-day business of profitably buying and selling used vehicles, it is always helpful to have some statistical information.

You will see that in the six months to the end of August 2001 compared to the six months ending August 2000, the average wholesale used car value sold by auction had risen by 9.5%.

These vehicles were all entered direct from the Fleet, Lease and Contract Hire sectors and were typical of their age and usage at approximately three years and 60,000 miles. Once again, it is now good practice for these vendors to prepare the vehicles to a high standard before sale. These are desirable one-owner vehicles with good pedigree, well specified and in attractive colours at average fleet mileage.

In short, these are the popular makes and models that represent the cars that motorists want to buy. In other words, the cars you want in stock to retail. They come to market prepared to a high standard with a full service history and all the documentation you need to promote a swift retail sale.

Let us never forget September 11 because it will live with us for the rest of our lives, but let us look forward in a positive way to building a market, which will produce results comparable to the six months ending August 2001."

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