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Used cars: Retail and online activity increases in January

Retail interest increased in January with sales up to 11.6 in January from 6.1 in December, Manheim’s Dealer Dashboard shows.

The lift in sales is typical for the month following the Christmas period.

This is also reflected in increased online search activity across the board (the retail facing Carmony portal reported a three-fold increase in searches compared to December), said John Simpson, managing director of Manheim Retail Services.

Demand for small hatchback vehicles saw the most growth in January with enquiries, test drives and sales all nearly double those in December.

The least growth was achieved in the mini-MPV category, with a minimal increase in activity reported for search, test drive and sales.

The wholesale market didn’t dis-appoint in January with values and conversion rates showing a significant increase.

Strong values and conversion rates are a seasonal norm during the first quarter.

Even in the darker moments for the used car market the year always seems to start with some optimism.

It is inevitable that the stock for retail shows the biggest uplift as buyers compete to get stocked up after the Q4 run down.

Prices have only fallen in the compact executive sector, but when adjusted for age and mileage the values are stable.

“The uplift in conversion rates is dramatic, but it should be remembered that many fleet and manufacturer vendors, fully aware of the expected market in January, have been quite happy to hold on to vehicles for several weeks,” said Mike Pilkington, managing director, Manheim Remarketing.

The underlying stability of the part-exchange disposals market is again confirmed with a 3% rise in values.

This market operates to diff-erent dynamics and for those involved in retailing such older vehicles there is little worry over stock.

Overall values of stock for retail are in line with those of last year. However, evident this year has been the presence of more franchised dealers at open auction, a trend that has been growing for some time.

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