AM Online

Price guides: It's all change for the data

Very soon the mysterious, closely guarded secrets packaged and sold by the guides will be out in the open.

They never used to be seen by the consumer

That has started to change. Vauxhall now values its trade–in cars with CAP and says so to the retail customer.

At last; fairness for all. How did it take so long to cherish the customer?

A dealer’s view

AM interviewed a used car buyer for a large group in south east England.

“Both guides’ cliché is that they are ‘only a guide’. There used to be a belief that the guides were a be-all and end-all. We follow the retail market and then check with the guides. Our margin is the last element we take into account.

“We decide the disposal price and do not use the guides for that. But we still subscribe.

“The guides have become less relevant in the last four years. Because of the recession the trade is harder and sharper. Unless you have an absolute gem, the stock price is driven to retail price.

“Again, over the last few years prices have been led by the independents more than the franchised dealers.

“I can run without any guides. But I am going to do without one of them. The problem is deciding which one to switch off.

“For a car we are going to retail we have to have faith in our judgement. Then we look at the guides. It is just a safety net.”

Lately there have been heavy drops in trade prices. There has not been undersupply for some time, he said.

“We had our best car month for a year and a half last month. Because the new car retailers have seen improved demand for new, we have had more part-exchange to trade.

“There has been so much stock around that it has been impossible to park at the Paddock Wood British Car Auction site. We have been filling up the stock parking slots.

“Stock has gone from 10,000 to 20,000 nearly overnight and the trade prices have started to tumble.

“”The business is there; footfall is up; value is better.”

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