AM Online

Stop gassing and get on with the job

The trade is awash with cars, and that does nothing to maintain the high level of confidence we've got used to this year. There's more stock finding its way to market via the usual auction and re-marketing routes than at any other time so far.

There is also a much wider choice than we have seen in recent months, with many two-to-three-year-old lower mileage cars becoming available. This combination is putting pressure on the traditional offering of higher mileage ex-fleet cars, where values have been easing. But this has been an unusual summer and the relative lack of interest on the block simply reflects the fact that the retail buyer went into World Cup hibernation during June.

The problem is that unremarkable facts tend to take on a sinister new edge when nerves are already jangling. The talk of large amounts of stock on disused airfields and other holding compounds is bound to damage confidence. But if you look at the facts, rather than the trade's interpretation of them, the picture is not necessarily so bleak.

Of course there are fields full of cars but we have a very large used car market. If anybody had the time to watch one of these fields the chances are they would see a steady throughput as they are fed into the various stages of preparation for retail sale.

Nor should we fall for the old trick of talking the market down. It's true values are easing but there is sometimes a fine line between reality and rumour. Business is driven by the need to sell cars and if you allow buying decisions to be over-influenced by the rumour mill you may find that opportunities to do business are greatly reduced.

From a retail perspective reliable supply levels can be welcome. Sales staff can't sell empty spaces and as long as values don't go into freefall there is a strong argument for celebrating the end of England's World Cup dream, wishing Her Majesty all the best for the rest of her Jubilee year, and getting on with the job of selling cars.

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