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Used cars: Price is key factor for buyers

The used car market continues to see the now familiar trends of disinterest in large vehicles and a steady core of sales at the small, value for money end of the spectrum. 

CAP Black Book movements for September revealed a slight improvement in the rate at which values are declining but no one believes that an upturn is on the horizon. 

Looking at research in the retail used car market performance it is clear that little significant change was seen during the late summer months.

When comparing their month-on-month performance for July, only 14% of dealers noted an improvement. 

Tough life for dealers?

According to a nationwide panel of dealers, 34% saw little or no change in conditions during July while another 33% felt that the market had deteriorated a little further.

Most worryingly, 18% described retail used car market conditions as ‘considerably worse’. 

Showroom traffic is in relatively good shape.

This supports the view that the biggest problem in the economy – aside from the banks’ reluctance to risk lending money – is that people are afraid to spend, rather than unable to. 

Almost half of the dealers questioned believe there will be little change over the next few months.

A pessimistic 12% believe the market will decline significantly while 33% expect any further worsening to be only slight.

Asked which factor or factors dealers believe are the most important to current used car buyers, just 11% cited image/reputation of the vehicle, 2% said overall vehicle performance and 1% believed it was the vehicle’s features.

In contrast, 41% named price as the most important factor and the same proportion named low running costs as top of the consumer’s list.

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