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CAP warns used car trade values about to come under pressure

Used car prices may be under pressure from the end of August, according to valuation experts at CAP.

However, CAP says steady consumer demand has kept the wholesale vehicle market fairly buoyant and dealers are keen to keep their forecourts stocked up.

With volumes in the used car market high, and ahead of the same time last year, values in general edged down in Black Book Live during July, but only resulting in a month-end drop of 1.2% at the 3-year, 60,000 mile mark.                    

Derren Martin, senior editor, CAP Black Book said: “Depreciation over the last two months has been slightly lower than anticipated. So, will the market catch-up with where many expected it to be?

“We have reported many dealers are seeing margin compression. When accounting for high volumes in the used car market, and a likely increase in the long-term, there is the potential for some pressure on trade prices. 

“August is likely to lead to a small drop off in consumer footfall, so the supply and demand balance may promote further price erosion. Longer term, there could be added pressure with a new registration plate looming, resulting in more fleet returns and retail part-exchanges.” 

Of the main volume sectors, SUVs were the hardest hit, due to large volumes in the market and partly the time of year. The Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti saw values drop in July due to high volumes in this ever-growing SUV sector - which has seen 125% increases in used car sold volumes over the last five years - is likely to remain under pressure in the long term, according to CAP.

Upper medium, or “D” Sector cars fared slightly better than the average in July and this could be due to stable volumes in the used car market. Used car sales volumes in this sector are down 2% since 2010. Values of common ex-company cars such as diesel variants of the non-current BMW 3 Series, Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia all stayed level in July, showing they remain a popular choice for the used car buyer, and represent good value when priced against many of the SUVs. 

Values of convertibles declined in July, particularly from the middle of the month onwards. The worst affected were those cars that appeared in higher volumes, such as the previous version of the Audi A3 Convertible and the current Volkswagen Golf Convertible. 

The pace of convertible depreciation has steadily increased over the past three months in Black Book Live, moving from just 0.2% during May, to 0.8% in June and then 1.6% in July. The window of opportunity is rapidly closing for these cars, if a dealer is looking to buy wholesale in August, by the time the car is prepared and on the forecourt, summer will more than likely have passed. 

“We are entering an interesting few months for the used car market. At this time last year, contract hire and leasing companies reported a drop off in their sales. What followed later in the year was high supply and low demand and this led to not insignificant pricing realignments. Black Book Live reported these movements on a daily basis last year, keeping subscribers updated real-time. Whatever happens over the next few months, CAP will be analysing the sold data real-time and moving any values accordingly,” added Mr Martin.

CAP has reported a positive response from the market to its “little and often” movements that reflect changes as they happen.  This is seen infinitely more accurate than large monthly value drops. 

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  • emeles - 04/08/2015 14:59

    “......August is likely to lead to a small drop off in consumer footfall.....' - so no change here since the same happens every year '.....there could be added pressure with a new registration plate looming.....' - so no change here '....Of the main volume sectors, SUVs were the hardest hit, due to large volumes in the market and partly the time of year.....' doesn't this happen every year and volumes have increased mainly due to the shift of D segment buyers to SUV's - what evidence is there that the used car D segment buyer wont also move to the SUV model?. sometimes you have to ask do CAP reflect the market of try to move the market?