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Private new car registrations April’s ‘highlight’, says Cazana

Rupert Pontin, director of insight, Cazana

Private new car registrations were April’s highlight as the new car market starts to show signs of “balance” but diesel car prices have faltered in the used car sector, according to Cazana.

In the automotive insight provider’s monthly update on the market, analyst Rupert Pontin said that the unique month of March 2017 was no longer distorting market comparison, adding that “the rest of the year will show the true shape of the new car market for 2018”.

Pressures on diesel sales have continued to have repercusions on the prioce of used vehicles, meanwhile.

Pontin said that April's SMMT figures, which showed an increase in registrations of 10.4% over the same month last year, highlighted the distortion of last year’s government VED changes and the year to date market fall of 8.8% is beginning to fall closer to full-year market expectations.

He added: “Perhaps the highlight of April’s market is a 26.3% increase in private registrations taking market share for the month to 45%, although from a year to date perspective this only equates to a 0.2% increase.”

Used car market data from Cazana highlighted full market performance of retail values based on retail pricing for key stock profiles year-on-year.

Pontin said that April’s data showed that there has been an increase in retail pricing for ex-fleet stock which is in line with some of the anecdotal comment coming from the used car market.

Ex-PCP stock showed stability against the same period last year and Pontin said: “These are both impressive performances given that April can be a challenging month with Retail buyers often patchy in the market.

“It also shows that the continued increase in used car stock is not enough to dent demand as this would translate into lower used Retail pricing.”

Cazana’s snapshot of the diesel to petrol market during April showed that the decline in new diesel cars had yet to be reflected in the used car market.

In comparison with the March 2018 data, retail values for three-year-old diesels had fallen at a greater rate, however, showing a drop of 1% for cars having covered 60,000 miles and 2% for cars at 36,000 miles.

This compared to the increase in retail values for petrol cars, demonstrating an improved demand for petrol cars at three years of age, Pontin said.

He said: “At 5% upwards for a 60k ex fleet petrol car this is not a trend to be overlooked. Volumes of this mileage petrol car are lower than the market would like at the moment as they are not typical ex-fleet models and this pattern may well continue as the year progresses.

“It is likely that this improved demand is part driven by value for money as retail customers always look for the best deal. There are also more finance deals in place to help buyers find what they would like.”

AFV retail pricing improved by 8% over April 2017 – the third consecutive month to show such a positive uplift.

Pontin said: “In comparison with last month, Retail values have increased by 1% but this clearly demonstrates that the used Retail buyer is now taking these cars very seriously indeed.

“Petrol propelled vehicle vales have also improved in value showing a cursory 1 % uplift although diesel powered cars match the trend in other areas of the market with the largest drop in values of 5% when compared against April 2017. This is 3% lower than the March 2018 figure.”

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