The first indications of the impact of the unusually long Easter holiday period are that used car sales have been adversely affected, reports Manheim.
Sales fell to an average of 12.8 units per dealer in April, down from 14.4 last month, and lower than both April 2009 and April 2010.
Given recent financial pressures felt by consumers leading to record low levels of consumer confidence as well as the Easter break, this is hardly surprising.
Showroom enquiries fell from 24.7 per month in March to 22.7, while online enquiries fell by 0.7 to 10.6.
Sales conversion rates also dropped from the record 40% of March to 38.3%, although these figures are still relatively strong.
As we are yet to experience the full effects of Government cuts, these tough retail trading conditions are likely to continue over the summer.
In the wholesale market, stock for retail values softened in April.
Mike Pilkington, managing director, Manheim Remarketing, said: “The extended Easter holiday period, the beginning of the seasonal slowdown and average increases in both stock age and mileage all resulted in a drop of £511 to £8,197.
“The compact executive segment was the only exception, seeing values increase (£33) due to a younger stock profile and healthy interest for this time of year.
“Despite these falls, average values are only £209 lower than the same period last year.
“In the dealer part-exchange market, March plate-change traditionally brings extra vehicles to auction, but supply issues have caused much of this volume to appear in the April wholesale market.
"However, this influx and the protracted Easter holiday have only seen average values soften by £102 to £2,331.”
He added: “However, with the holiday period now over things may return to a sense of normality before we hit the summer lull.”