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Global used car export demand driving up UK wholesale values

The British Independent Motor Trade Association (BIMTA) has claimed that as trend towards rising wholesale used car values has been compounded by the UK market’s biggest vehicle export drive in more than 20 years.

Through a Freedom of Information request to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Association found that a total of 430,937 vehicles had been permanently exported from the UK between April 2017 and March 2018.

Ireland, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and The Caribbean are just some of the places buying a range of our used or pre-registered cars in greater numbers, it said, with many models attracting much higher values in these overseas markets.

“Based on current statistics around 20% of new cars sold will eventually be exported”, said a statement issued by BIMTA today (November 19).

The Association believes this year will continue to be one of the strongest year's for used car export since 1997. 

Here in the UK, rising used car prices are placing pressure on margins and creating issues for smaller used car retailers who do not have the buying power or processes in place to drive speedy and efficient stock turn.

Despite the high new car volumes of recent years, many retailers are reporting difficulties in sourcing good used car stock.

Overseas businesses do appear to be reaping the rewards of the high volumes of recent years, however.

Earlier this year, AM spoke to Cork-based Keary Motor Group, which has been able to expand on the back of the sales of used cars imported from the UK.

Managing director Bill Keary said: “Brexit has affected the Irish market in that there are a lot of cars now coming in from the UK.

“I have opened a support business for the imported cars that we bring in.

“In Cork we have recently opened our Car Store used car supermarket and in the last month we have announced that we will be opening our biggest car supermarket to date, in Dublin.

“Last year we imported around 1,000 cars from the UK and this year that figure will rise to over 3,000. That’s half of the 6,000 used vehicles that we expect to sell.”

Asked at the time about the ongoing growth of the Car Store operation, Keary admitted that he expects the tide of cheap stock from the UK to stop as Brexit negotiations progress.

He said: “Inevitably this is going to change when Brexit happens. Then we’ll have to look to ex-rental stock from our sources here in Ireland.”


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