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Dealer confidence in used car sales slides

Dealers' confidence in the used market has fallen along with used car sales, according to the latest Cap Motor Research monthly Used Car Confidence Index.

Using a points system, Cap found that in August overall confidence in the market fell 17 points from last month's +28 figure. Confidence is lower this year than at this time in 2000.

Used car sales have dropped 5.9% from this month last year – due to strong used sales in August 2000. Out of the nine regions six outperformed last year's sales. These were Anglia (a 13.3% improvement), the North East (18.6%), the North West (7.6%), Scotland (7.7%), the SW & Wales (20.0%) and Yorkshire (5.4%). Three regions sold substantially less than last year - Northern Ireland (19.3%), SE & London (12.7%) and the Midlands (1.2%).

The decline in the used car market this month, Cap believes, could be attributed to the affect of new car orders for September, with dealers finding it difficult to dispose of used stock in August.

Again, like last month, the supermini is outperforming all sectors on the used car forecourt - with 51.7% retailing at a 'good' to 'excellent' level. Small family cars follow close behind with 50.0% at this level. 4x4s have also had a fairly good month with 38.9% of dealers rating them as retailing at a 'good' level.

Yet again the executive performs poorly on the used car dealers forecourt with 68.2% rating them as 'disappointing' to 'poor'. Large family cars are also performing badly this month with 51.9% rating them as 'poor' to 'disappointing'. Even though the winter months lie ahead sports cars were retailing at a relatively 'acceptable' level. Like last month superminis sold strongly in Scotland and the SE & London, they were also retailing well in the North West this month. Small family cars performed well in Yorkshire, the South West and Wales. Although executives were performing poorly in the majority of regions they were particularly poor in the Midlands, North East and South East and London.

Dealers were also asked what affect they thought the review of Block Exemption would have on used values. 50% said they thought it would have no affect on used car values. The majority of the remainder felt that a change in the system could lead to values decreasing. Only 5.6% said they thought values would improve.

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