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Loyal following for senisble sellers in buoyant used market

Auctions are back to reporting a buoyant period, with conversions hovering around the mid-70 per cent mark, says Martin Ward, Cap Network national research manager.

But again it is the same old story - vehicles have to be in a retailable condition, with little or no work required or just needing a smart repair.

Most disposers have realised that sub-standard cars have to be sold first time and consequently the reserves are set to make sure they do sell. They are letting go and not hanging on to undesirable and unwanted cars as the price has to be right for the trade to put up their hands.

Those disposers who have a reputation for offloading their vehicles at sensible prices have gathered a loyal following of buyers and conversion rates are better than average. This buoyancy is likely to continue for a number of weeks as retail demand during the summer months should be good, coupled with a possible shortage of cars. This will be the case until September when the usual part-exchange intake arrives, as the new number plate comes into existence.

Some nearly-new cars are beginning to look expensive compared to new. The old model Vauxhall Corsa Envoy, which has always been sought after by both franchise and non-franchise dealers, is now about in numbers.

The main reason for this build-up is simply that the new model is such good value, and many used car buyers are upgrading to new. This can be said for many cars such as the Fiat Punto and Renault Clio as new prices have been reduced at the same time as specification has been raised. The competition at this end of the market is increasing and prices are being carefully monitored by both the trade and the retail buyer.

Lexus: the story gets better
When Lexus first appeared on these shores exactly 11 years ago, many didn't really think it had much of a future, taking on the mighty BMW and Mercedes-Benz in a well-established battleground.

But over a decade later Lexus is still here, and going from strength to strength, particularly as used cars. There is much demand for almost any used Lexus, even some of the original LS can find homes reasonably well, even with a retail price of around nine grand. Not everyone's cup of tea, but with limited numbers there's always somebody out there for one.

The IS200 has now been around for two years and any that appear on the market are snapped up, usually by the franchise network. So why the demand for any used Lexus?

Dealers in general have parted from their long-term Toyota dealership partnerships to become standalone. But to fill used forecourts and remain profitable they need used cars, and plenty of them. These must now all be Lexus and no longer Avensis, or Corolla. It is true that they can retail any used car but the appetite is for their own brand.

This demand will continue for some time, but the crucial period will be when the IS200 has its third birthday and all the vehicles sold on its debut in April 1999, or soon after, start to hit the used car market. The Lexus network should be able to handle the numbers, providing it can tempt enough used car buyers away from some of the other, better known German brands.

Renault takes a huge gamble
The all-new Avantime and Vel Satis are just a few months away from appearing at your local Renault dealer, so it won't be too long before they are appearing on the used car market.

These cars, particularly the Avantime, are likely to be either loved or hated. The used car buyer will decide over the coming years how popular they are going to be. It has to be said that the door opening system on the Avantime is a very clever bit of technology. Who mentioned re-inventing the wheel? As with any new car that appears on the market, some manufacturers play it safe but others don't, and take a huge gamble. The jury is still out on this one, even for those who have already had the pleasure of seeing it and driving it.

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