Auto Trader believes pre-registration activity represents 2% of the 300,000 cars offered on its website.
Research by Auto Trader also shows that this time last year, cars less than one year old accounted for 10.5% of the total stock offered on Auto Trader, while this year that figure has reduced to 9.4 %, the lowest level for the last three years.
While the data is only related to Auto Trader’s website, the view that pre-registration activity has reduced goes against what dealers and other commentators within the industry have said about wider activity in the market.
Tim Peake, group strategy director, Trader Media Group said: “In a recent Auto Trader survey nearly 30% of people wanting to buy a new vehicle cited that it was because it was “time for a change”.
“The same survey outlined that consumers are also looking to reduce the cost of motoring. This was cited as the main financial concern for all consumers, even more than job security. It seems plausible that there is a relationship between reducing the cost of motoring, the improvement in retail prices of younger vehicles and the demand for younger vehicles being greater this year versus last (searches for cars less than one year old on Auto Trader are up by 20% year-on-year).
“So, while there is no doubt that pre-registrations are occurring, there are signs that the market is genuinely moving in the right direction.”
To read more analysis on the effect of pre-registrations on the UK car market read the next issue of AM which is published on August 24. Franchised dealers can subscribe to AM for free.
According to Auto Trader there was a ‘spike’ in the proportion of cars less than one year old in September and December last year while in March this year the proportion of cars less than one year old remained the same as 2011, which suggests less pre-registration and more genuine retail sales activity.
At the start of the year, Auto Trader predicted that new car sales would be up by 3.3% this year versus 2011 taking account of the effect of increased property transactions which the Council of Mortgage lenders had predicted in late 2010. Furthermore, Auto Trader also suggested that pent-up demand created by the last three years of recession, as consumers kept their cars for longer, would start to play through to higher year-on-year demand.