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April used car slowdown signals ‘market cooling’

Used car retail sales growth showed signs of slowing in April following a strong first quarter performance, according to the CAP Used Car Performance Index.

In March, franchised and independent used car dealers in every region of the UK except Yorkshire enjoyed higher used car sales than in February. But in April the pattern was decidedly mixed, with sales falling in Northern Ireland, North-west England, Scotland and Yorkshire.

In Scotland, 70% of dealers reported lower sales while 10% reported an increase, resulting in a balance of minus 60%. Scottish dealers, however, believe the downturn is temporary. Half of all dealers polled expect an imminent upturn within the next few weeks, and only 30% a continuing fall. This makes Scotland one of the UK’s most confident regions, alongside the North-west and just behind the most confident area, Northern Ireland.

Mark Norman, managing editor of CAP Monitor, says: “The trade is experiencing a slight slowdown but, given the exceptional strength of the first quarter used market, this is only to be expected.

“There is a fair chance we will see a further cooling of the market over the next few months, but this really is no different from previous years.”

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