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Used car retail sales beginning to slow down

Used car dealers are beginning to feel the winter pinch as short days, poor weather and the impending expense of Christmas diverts retail customers away from the forecourt.

According to the latest CAP Used Car Performance Index October – the latest fully analysed month – saw Scottish dealers turning in the best performance, although even here fewer retail sales were achieved. Their Welsh counterparts suffered the biggest reduction in retail business.

In England, dealers in the East enjoyed the best results with those in the North West trailing furthest behind, compared with September.

 These latest figures tally consistently with the recent Used Car Performance Index survey which revealed dealers’ views on the best and worst months for retail sales performance. This revealed a sharp dip towards the end of the year before business picks up in January.

Dealer confidence for the immediate weeks ahead confirms expectations that business will slow further, with dealers nationwide expecting further retail sales reductions. A small majority of those in the North East and South West, however, reported projections that sales would increase during November.

The strongest expectations of a retail business slowdown were reported by dealers in the East – despite their October success. Other regions with a particularly cautious outlook were the East Midlands, North West and Yorkshire & Humberside.

 However, other research for Black Book reveals strong trade activity with dealers beginning to focus behind the scenes on building stock for the anticipated January upswing.

  Daren Wiseman, managing editor of CAP Black Book, says: “It would be a mistake to view the latest Used Car Performance Index as a gloomy indicator of market performance. Dealers have enjoyed a successful year and are already paving the way for more success in the New Year.”

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