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Used cars: December values set new record in thin trading

Increased demand over a shortened trading period with reduced volumes in December saw average values improve by £250 (up 4.0%) compared to November, according to BCA’s latest Pulse report.

Average values rose to £6,451, the highest figure on record since Pulse began reporting in 2005.

Some of this was down to model mix, but the rise also reflects the very competitive trading environment seen in December. Aver-age values have risen by more than 8% in the past two months.

The bulk of the increase was felt in the fleet/lease sector where values improved by £270 (3.6%) to £7,658 – the highest monthly average since January 2011.

While values fell in the part-exchange sector from November’s record breaking level, demand for budget vehicles remains exceptionally strong.

Values rose for nearly-new models by just over £1,000 to reach £19,963, a result of model mix in a very low volume sector and a number of special sales events during the month.

Year-on-year, December was a substantial £546 (9.2%) up on the same month in 2010, when heavy snow was a critical factor.

BCA’s communications director Tony Gannon said: “December pro-vided another relatively strong performance, as professional buyers competed strongly for stock in the run-up to Christmas.

"However, the much reduced trading period and reduced headline volume – down by some 37% – means model mix has a bigger role to play in average values during December than at any other time of the year.

“Otherwise, the overall picture remains very similar to recent months, with a good balance between supply and demand.”

Fleet values improved for the second month running, achieving second highest average value in 2011. CAP performance improved marginally to 96.48% and year-on-year values were ahead by £423 or 5.8%.

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