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Cox Automotive’s performance hints at stable market in 2018

Cox Automotive's Manheim Auctions

Cox Automotive has reported "great stability" in the used car sector during the last quarter of 2017, suggesting that car supermarkets will help to drive things forwards into 2018.

The company said that its wholesale division had a positive end to the year, revealing year-on-year results that put its overall performance on par with 2016 as the group's trade-to-trade online auction platform, Dealer Auction, reported a 7.4% year-on-year increase in the number of vehicles sold.

Volumes through Manheim auctions saw a month-on-month decrease in November compared to October, which is broadly in line with expected seasonal shifts, it said.

Year-to-date figures for Manheim show a market within 0.55% of 2016 (Jan-Nov 2016 vs. Jan-Nov 2017).

Motors.co.uk saw average sold prices in the retail market remain within 0.5% of October figures, and 12.4% up on November 2016, at £14,274.

Philip Nothard, head of external relations at Cox Automotive, said: "The SMMT recently revealed that new car sales were down 11.2% in November. This contrasts sharply with the story in the used car sector, where data demonstrates that the market is a continued area of focus for dealers, with great stability year-on-year.

"Our data shows that in auctions, the car supermarkets are continuing to buy and this is driving the market forward, while franchise dealers appear to be a little more cautious, which perhaps reflects their focus on a slowing new car market.

"Looking ahead, we anticipate that this will level out in 2018, with used cars continuing to be an area of focus for all dealers, as we move through the early quarters of next year."

The data also revealed that despite a significant downward trend in the new car market for diesel, it has yet to fully filter in to the wholesale used car sector. Diesel volumes through Manheim were up 1.33% year-to-date, and on course to achieve expectations set at the start of the year.

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