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Car build quality erodes impact of mileage on values - CAP

CAP Black Book research has revealed an ongoing change in trade buying patterns, which indicates that the so-called 'concertina effect' of reduced value gaps between mileages is growing.

Black Book Senior Editor, Tony Styles, said: “Our research reveals that plates are now given greater priority in the retail buyer's mind, compared with mileage, with an earlier average mileage car preferred to an older, very low mileage vehicle. The impact of this on the market in general is a reducing price gap between average and low mileage.”

The trend is reflected in the latest edition of Black Book.

For example, in January 2004 an Astra 1.4 LS, with air conditioning, carried a £375 gap between 5,000 and 20,000 miles as a three-year-old car. The same vehicle in January 2003, using the same parameters, carried a difference of £500. A Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec in 2004 demonstrates a difference of £225 compared with £525 a year ago.Styles said: “It is impossible to say with any certainty whether this situation has now reached an equilibrium. The fact remains that if there were only low mileage cars available, then simple demand and supply economics would dictate rising values for them.

“But with the size of the UK fleet market's contribution to the used marketplace this is purely hypothetical. Dealers and disposers should be aware of this change in retail customer priorities and care should be taken not to assume that what was historically true will always remain so.”

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