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Sales increase marginally in a flat market

June’s retail used car sales remained flat, according to Manheim’s Dealer Dashboard.

Sales were up marginally from an average of 12.1 used car sales to 12.3.

“Although this is the first registered increase since March this year, it is too early to claim that we are through the ‘retail doldrums’,” said John Simpson, managing director of Manheim Retail Services.

“It is likely that the best that can be hoped for in the short term at least is relatively flat overall retail sales.

"So while the market holds its breath, the pressure on dealers to fight over a relatively low but static number of prospective buyers increases month on month.”

Boosted by a significant increase in online traffic, retail demand was up from 33.6 enquiries in May to 33.8 in June. Conversion of test drives to sales increased from 36% to 36.2%.

In the wholesale market, Mike Pilkington, managing director at Manheim Remarketing, said stock for retail values slipped again to £7,819, down £147 on May. There had been a traditional summer lull, exacerbated by the presence of older, higher mileage fleet stock.

What was encouraging was that the rate of decline slowed: June values were 2% lower than May, compared with a 3% fall between May and April and 6% between April and March.

Average values were £250 lower than 2010, but performed better than both 08 and 09.

The dealer part-exchange market posted values of £2,400, up by £79 on May. This was helped by some younger stock on offer.

Consumers feeling the pinch continue to look for good value, fuel efficient stock. Conversion rates improved 1% to 74%.

While there is no doubt the summer months will continue to challenge, the right stock continues to find a home and it’s important that dealers place extra emphasis on vehicle presentation at auction, he said.

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