Cox Automotive reported a strong end to 2017 as average used car prices rose across its Manheim auctions, Dealer Auction, NextGear Capital and Motors.co.uk businesses.
The average price of a used car offered at Manheim's auction network rose by 4.4% on 2016 during December, to £6,639, as the average mileage across vehicles sold remained steady at 58,331 – a 0.8% decrease on November.
Rising prices served to temper the effects of a 41% decrease in vehicle volumes when compared to November – an 8.6% decrease year on year.
The trend was partially blamed on bad weather in the early part of the month, paired with the expected seasonal downturn over the Christmas week and was driven by a drop in part-exchange (down 44.5%) and ex-fleet (down 36.8%) volumes.
Cox Automotive's head of external relations, Philip Nothard, said: "The uplift in pricing can be partially attributed to falling volumes through our lanes which has created a very competitive marketplace."
Further reflecting the positivity in price, Dealer Auction, Cox’s trade-to-trade online auction platform, reported a 2.1% month-on-month increase in average sales values, with volumes over the year remaining static.
Stock funding arm NextGear Capital, meanwhile, saw the average cost per unit hit £7,170, a 3% monthly growth and the highest figure recorded in 2017.
NextGear reported that the average holding days decreased to 53 days, from 57 in November, during December, however.
The average used car selling price at Cox’s car sales website, Motors.co.uk, was up 9% year-on-year, and 1.3% on November, at £14,465.
Nothard said: “We anticipate a spike in both demand and prices for used cars over the next month and, as seen in 2017, predict these increases will be maintained for the first quarter, with all fuels performing well.
“Our data shows that the downward trend in the new car market for diesel has yet to fully filter through to the used car market, despite the media negativity and Government push for consumers to buy alternative fuels.
“For used cars, we believe diesel will remain a top player in the market for a considerable number of years to come.
“Dealers that have already planned and managed used stock for the upcoming months are positioned well, but those reliant on new could find themselves on difficult and hyper-competitive ground.”
Manheim this week renewed an exclusive 40,000-unit remarketing deal with Listers.
The partnership,which was the result of a tender, will see high-quality stock from Listers continue to flow through the auction company's Birmingham centre over the next three years.