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Used car dealers wary of plate change

Cap's latest (July) Used Car Confidence Index shows that over a third of dealers think that the new registration plate system will make sales harder when cars come on to the used market.

"The new registration will create an obvious difference between brand new and a nearly new product," said one Scottish dealer. Slightly more traders see the plate change as no threat or benefit, with only 15% of respondents assessing the plate change as a sales aid. A few dealers reported that buyers were unaware of the new plate format, but new car advertising this month will educate consumers.

Cap finds dealer confidence unchanged from July 2000, with most expecting an upturn as consumers buy new. Year-on-year used car sales are up 3.6% across the UK. The picture is patchy, however. The North-west was up 11.1%. Anglia was also up by 9.2%. Losers were the South-west and Wales, down 6%, and the North-east, down by 9.5%.

So far this year used car sales in the UK have grown 3.7% on 2000. This is seen as a reflection of the public's response to the new car pricing debate and their loss of confidence in the new car market and new car resale values.

Top sellers were used superminis, with small family cars also selling well. MPVs were performing moderately. Slowest to move off the forecourt were executive cars, with large family cars also hard to shift.

Finance deals sold with used vehicles dropped significantly , down 15% from June's 44% to 29%. Just 40% of retail used car sales involved a trade in.

The Cap Used Car Confidence Index is a monthly digest of UK used car dealer's views.

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