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Used car dealers “overwhelmingly confident for 2004” - CAP

Used car dealers are enjoying good times in Britain, reporting better performance last year than in 2002 and overwhelmingly predicting an even better 2004.

That's the main finding of a special monthly survey of the used car trade launched by CAP, independent providers of benchmark vehicle valuation information to the UK automotive industry.

The CAP Used Car Performance Index reveals:- Used car sales improvement in 2003 across every UK region- Dealers in every region expect even better performance this year- An apparent North/South confidence divide – in the North's favour

The CAP Used Car Performance Index is based on a regionally weighted and representative sample of franchise and independent used car dealers covering the whole of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.Questioned about their used car retail sales last year, compared with 2002, 63 per cent of dealers reported better or same performance than the year before, with just 17 per cent experiencing a decline in business. And an overwhelming 88 per cent expect better or similar performance this year, with just 12 per cent expecting a downturn.Breaking the results down regionally the CAP Used Car Performance Index reveals a mixed picture around the British Isles:

Regional highlights

- Northern Ireland: 90 per cent of dealers reported better or similar results in 2003 to the previous year, while 60 per cent expect the same performance, or better, in 2004

- South East: 90 per cent fared better in 2003 and 80 per cent anticipate better or static results this year.

- North West: dealers reported the joint worst performance last year but none expect a downturn in 2004

- Eastern: majority expect business to remain level with 2003, which 25 per cent reported as worse than 2002

- East Midlands: 30 per cent reported a worse 2003 but 50 per cent expect an improvement in 2004

- North East: 60 per cent enjoyed improvement in 2003 with 60 per cent expecting stability in 2004

- Scotland: business improved in 2003 for 40 per cent and 60 per cent expect further growth this year

- South East: only ten per cent of dealers suffered a 2003 downturn, with 20 per cent expecting further decline in 2004

- South West: 60 per cent fared better in 2003 and half expect further improvements this year

- Wales: Welsh dealers were most successful in 2003, with 70 per cent reporting improvement, while 90 per cent expect better or same performance this year

- West Midlands: the most confident region, with 70 per cent expecting improvements following a year which saw growing success for 60 per cent

- Yorkshire & Humberside: 60 per cent saw improvement in 2003 and none expect a decline this year.

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