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Dealer finance sales trend downward

There was a further lull in consumer demand for point of sale motor finance, according to the latest figures from the Finance and Leasing Association. Car finance sales were down 14 per cent in November compared to year-earlier figures.

The twelve month growth rate for this sector is at its lowest for fourteen months.

Business cars, which appeared to be enjoying a resurgence in demand last month, are back in the doldrums - down 23% by value compared to November 2001, which has helped slow the twelve-month growth rate to its lowest level since May.

Overall new car finance is down by 19% compared to the same month a year ago and the number of units decreased by 21%. But the growth rate for the twelve months to November remains positive. Compared to November 2001, demand for finance was up by 9% and the number of units by 4%.

Demand for used consumer cars dropped 6% by volume compared with November 2001, but in the twelve-month period to date, volume rose by 2%.

Used business cars fared little better, with a 13% drop by volume compared with November 2001.

Commenting on the figures, FLA Director General Martin Hall, says: “It was inevitable that the frenzied buying in the consumer sector would ease back. Many people had held off buying - awaiting reductions from manufacturers. So there was considerable pent-up demand earlier this year. But the finance packages available are highly competitive and likely to attract consumers back to the showrooms in 2003.

“The big disappointment this month is that business cars have fallen behind yet again. We hoped last month's increase was an indicator of renewed business confidence but it appears now that it was more likely due to deferred replacement of vehicles.”

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