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Dealer confidence reaches new high

Used car dealer confidence is at an all-time high, according to Cap.

The latest Used Car Confidence Index reports the highest number of dealers on record describing retail sales as 'good' or 'excellent'.

According to Cap, dealers in Scotland, London and the South East are the most optimistic, but those in East Anglia have little confidence that their currently strong retail performance will continue.

Sales in January were 6.4% higher than the same time last year. Sales in the south east and London and Yorkshire improved most, by 23.1% and 19.5% respectively. Most areas benefited with the exception of the Midlands and North East.

Most dealers, Cap says, found sales to be 'acceptable' and record 32.8% gave a 'good' or 'excellent' response.

Superminis, small family cars and 4x4s did particularly well but 60% found sales of executive cars to be disappointing or poor.

Sports car sales' performance is improving, however, with 42.1% finding them 'acceptable'.

The downside to strong sales was that 73% of buyers found finance for their car from sources other than the dealer.

In January, Cap also found that dealers were 'struggling' to find fresh cars to sell, due to a shortage of part exchanges.

On average 60% of January deals were straight purchases.

A common complaint was that those which did come in were unsuitable for sale. These had to be sold back into trade.

A higher than normal 51% of dealers' cars changed hands in this way. Only 34% were retailed, while 11% were sent to auction.

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