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Used car market not set for a 'dam burst of demand', says Startline

Demand for used cars is starting to accelerate as buyers look to make post-lockdown purchases, according to Startline Motor Finance.

The company says pent-up demand for used cars demand is now beginning to become apparent, following a “very busy” February and March-to-date.

Paul Burgess, Startline chief executive, said: “We’re not talking about a dam burst of demand suddenly being unleashed in the market or perhaps even the kind of sudden, strong demand that we saw last summer but there’s a detectable sense of the market just starting to rev up.

“What is probably happening is that there is a general sense of optimism as the vaccination programme rolls out relatively quickly and a gradual return to some kind of normality looks to be in reach. This inevitably feeds through into increased consumer confidence which is a major influence on used car sales.”

The finance provider predicts that 2021 could be a better year than many imagined as the market appears to be powered by the two same categories of buyers that had been apparent since the start of the pandemic.

Burgess added: “For the last year, it has very much been about people whose spending has been reduced by the pandemic channelling that spare money into cars alongside those who absolutely need to buy for work or personal transport needs.

“What is interesting is that there are signs of both these groups increasing in propensity to purchase in a post-lockdown sense. Again, we are not forecasting a massive unleashing of demand but there are enough signs to be optimistic about the Spring and Summer markets.”

In February, Dealer Auction said it was anticipating a boom in used car sales this year. Reflecting on parent company Cox Automotive UK’s Q3 Dealer Sentiment Survey, which found that two-thirds (64%) of dealers expected used car transactions to increase in 2021; Dealer Auction believes this outlook is still realistic despite the UK starting the year by entering its third national lockdown.

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