The decline in retail consumer interest continued in December with sales down from 8.8 in November to 6.1, according to Manheim’s Dealer Dashboard.
December is generally a quiet month for used car retailers and the figures come as no surprise.
Sales performance is significantly behind that of December 2008 (9.9 sales), but it is on a par with 2010 (6.5) and 2011 (6.8).
Consumers were put off by some poor weather as interested buyers increasingly substituted a dealership visit with a virtual one.
“A day doesn’t go by without there being a new and different prediction about the economy and its impact on consumers.
"While 2012 looks set to be another difficult year and with new car sales still depressed, 2012 will be the year of the used car, which should be firmly entrenched in a dealer’s strategy,” said John Simpson, managing director of Manheim Retail Services.
With dealers keeping a firm eye on the expected January uplift and a slightly younger model mix bringing in some more attractive stock, wholesale market average stock for retail values rose a respectable £129 to £7,762.
“Dealers have clearly learnt the lesson of two years ago when forecourts were left bare and sales opportunities went begging.
"Even with the fragility of today’s market, demand for good quality stock remains high,” said Mike Pilkington, managing director of Manheim Remarketing.
Despite values improving, buyers are still having to sift the good from the poor and are continuing to be very wary of the plethora of stock that is not ready to retail.
All segments enjoyed a rise in values with compact executive segments enjoying the largest increase of 7% over last month.
The lower value part-exchange market remained relatively flat. On average, stock available increased in age and mileage compared with November and values dipped accordingly by £84 to £2,362.
Values are 6% higher than December 2010 and conversion rates remain healthy for the time of year.