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Car appraisal activity shows dealers preparing for slowdown in new market, focusing on used

Wizzle founder Sébastien Duval

Dealers appraised almost as many used cars for stock purchase or part-exchange in January as in September last year.

Figures, released by AUTOi, support predictions of a big first quarter for registrations as well as an amplified dealer focus on used cars as a longer term hedge against a slowdown in new car sales later in the year.

Every aspect of market activity measured by AUTOi’s appraisal and stock trading channels suggest demand for stock continued to soar after the typical early January upswing, with no sign of any let-up in February.

AUTOi have benchmarked market indicators during the early part of 2017 against September last year, before the natural winter slowdown, to gain a clearer picture of potential demand.

Analysing trade appraisal activity offers behind-the-scenes insight into how busy dealers are, supplementing more overt measures such as searches for stock and trade car purchases.

During January the number of appraisals carried out by dealers through AUTOi fell only seven per cent short of September 2016 – last year’s most active month – and were significantly ahead of January 2016.

It is believed that changes to Vehicle Excise Duty due from April this year have sparked additional demand for new cars during the first quarter and that much of the surge in appraisal activity is related to part-exchange valuations.

But indicators from AUTOi’s vehicle trading channels also confirm that dealer demand for fresh used stock is continuing to grow.

Purchases through AUTOi via its Wizzle cash-for-car consumer service are 60% ahead of September and searches for stock are up by 48%. On the supply side the number of independent auctions feeding stock into the system has increased from four to eight, as trade vendors push to increase their exposure.

AUTOi founder Sébastien Duval (pictured) said: “Everyone expects an upswing at the start of the year but 2017 has been particularly strong.

“After benchmarking our market insights from January and early February against the busy month of September, rather than the quiet period toward the back end of the year, it is clear that this is a genuinely robust used car market.

“The activity within dealerships, captured through the AUTOi appraisal system is confirmation that the market has remained busy and that our figures are not distorted by the novelty of our creation of new channels for purchasing stock.

“All of this supports predictions from ourselves and others that 2017 will be very strong for the used car market.”

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