Car dealers’ used car stock levels were 9.4% down year-on-year last month and 16.5% down on September 2019, according to data published by Indicata.
The stock management specialist’s Market Watch insights report said that stock shortages across the sector had seen “severe price inflation” send used car prices soaring 27.5% higher than five months ago.
But retailers are also benefitting from strong margins as high consumer demand persists, with Peoples Ford, Marshall Motor Holdings and Vertu Motors among those highlighting the positive impact of current trading conditions on their profitability.
Last week Vertu Motors chief executive, Robert Forrester, told AM “I’m buying used cars everywhere I go” as the AM100 PLC implemented a group-wide drive to acquire stock to keep volumes flowing.
Commenting in Indicata’s market data, group sales director, Jon Mitchell, said: “Used prices show no sign of slowing down as demand exceeds supply. Dealer stocks are still under pressure which suggests prices will continue to rise.”
He added: “There are around six weeks’ worth of stock in the market of the three top selling cars which also reinforces how short the market is of cars. The used market will be working under these pressures for many more months to come.”
Indicata’s data showed that electric vehicles (EV) had sold at similar speeds in September to petrol and diesel cars in September, as some in the sector attributed increased EV popularity with fuel shortages on UK filling station forecourts.
Used EVs’ September stock turn was 33% higher than the previous month and 87% higher than September 2020, according to INDICATA’s Market Watch insights report.
At 9.0, stock turn levels for EVs were comparable with diesel, at 10.2.
Mitchell said: “September was a tipping point for BEVs in that stocking days got closer than ever before to ICE cars which suggests the market is warming to the zero-emission proposition.”
Online B2C used car sales rose 0.8% in September compared with August, and nine months into 2021 sales were 20.8% above the same period in 2020 and 3.9% above the same period in 2019 which was the most recent ‘normal’ trading year before COVID-19 struck.
September also saw the first signs of tactical manufacturer registration campaigns, Indicata claimed, as there was a 7% monthly and 18% year-on-year increase in car sales at less than 12 months of age.
Indicata said: “The aim has been to feed some cars into a sector which has been short of stock for the past two years thus helping increase stock levels in October by 2.3% above September levels.”
Indicata’s data showed that the top selling used cars in the UK during September were the Ford Fiesta, VW Golf and Vauxhall Corsa.
As of the end of September there were 40.9, 38.6 and 36.9 days respectively of stock available in the market of these three top selling cars which reinforces the current shortage.