Changing sector mix, rising volumes and seasonal pressures saw average used car values fall by £270 (4.3%) in March, according to BCA’s Pulse Report.
However, within the overall total, average sale values for fleet/lease and dealer part-exchange cars improved compared to February.
Across the board, values fell from £6,244 to £5,974, which is very much in line with seasonal pressures as March values have fallen compared to February every year since Pulse began reporting in 2005 (with the exception of 2009 when used values were accelerating rapidly from the price crash the previous year).
Overall sold volumes increased by more than 14% compared to February, with lower value dealer part-exchange cars representing the majority of this increase.
This change in mix towards lower value cars was largely responsible for the fall in the headline number.
Year-on-year, March 2012 is £222 (3.8%) ahead of 2011.
Used cars averaged just over 97% of CAP Clean in March, while age rose from 61 months to more than 63 months and mileage stayed around 59,000 miles.
Looking at the market sectors, fleet/lease values improved to the highest point in nearly two years, nearly-new values fell as a result of changing model-mix in a low volume sector and part-exchange values improved to the second highest value on record.
BCA’s communications director Tony Gannon said: “Although the headline value fell, this was as a result of increased volumes in
the lower-value part-exchange sector.
"However, as sold volumes increased quite sharply over the month – up 14% compared to February – it was noticeable that both conversion rates and values were falling weekly during March.
“We expect volumes to rise in the short-term as seasonal de-fleets and part-exchange cars continue to filter through.”