AM Online

Used car market analysis: October 2009

Late in September AM reported an industry source saying that the new car registration figures were expected to be down slightly in September 2009.

The source suggested a decline of more than two per cent ‘unless there is a significant push on the final few trading days’.

As if by magic, when the figures were finally revealed by the SMMT, the market was up by more than 11%.

Is it the case that the SMMT is so obsessed with making an entirely positive story out of the scrappage scheme, that it felt it couldn’t afford a month of negative growth?

Was self-registration widespread to ensure the good PR generated around scrappage wasn’t spoiled by a poor September just as Lord Mandelson had agreed to an extension of the scheme?

I’m sure no one in the industry will support that view, but if January 2010 market has a higher number of one-owner, delivery-mileage cars advertised for sale we can make an educated guess as to what’s happened.

If a registered car is held in stock for three months before being sold it does not have to be declared as

The market for these self-registered ‘used’ cars had fallen significantly during the last 12 months as stockpiles of cars depleted and it’s important for the strength of the recovery that manufacturers avoid artificial stimulation just to make the figures look good.

With scrappage registrations potentially bringing forward sales that might ordinarily have happened in 2010 or later and taking account of about a quarter of new car registrations the market will face enough of a challenge after the scheme ends in February.

As used car prices have appeared to stabilise and showed signs of returning to seasonal trends, recovery must not be jeopardised by short-term wins.  

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