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Dealer loans take 52.9% share of total

Dealers’ share of loans advanced for retail purchases has edged up slightly again.

In the year to February point-of-sale accounted for 52.9% of the total, one tenth of a percentage point more than in the 12 months to January (that month’s figure was revised down to 52.8%).

Other data from the Finance & Leasing Association shows that in February 2009 dealer finance accounted for only 46% of new cars sold to consumers.

This underlines the fight back by specialist automotive lenders and dealers, but raises the question of whether the improvement can be sustained.

Paul Harrison, FLA head of motor finance, is optimistic about a continuing recovery as the number of AM100 dealer groups becoming fully FLA SAF (specialist automotive finance) approved increases.

But Harrison said a number of factors explain the rise in dealer finance.

One was that the effect of the scrappage scheme has now dropped out of the FLA’s 12-month rolling average: “Many of the cars sold were small, lower-value cars, and so there was a reduced need for finance,” he said.

Commenting on the chances of dealer finance continuing to grow, Harrison said: “Any rise will also reflect the level of competition from direct loan providers as they come back to market.”

In the 12 months to February the value of point-of-sale loans for new cars totalled £6.377 billion, an 8% year-on-year increase. The volume of cars was 4% up, to 495,258.

But dealer loans were down in the three months to February (by 9% to £1.009bn) and in February itself (by 11% to £253 million).

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