Used Car Dealers Expect Retail Success in 2008

Used car dealers are generally positive about their retail prospects in 2008, despite the credit crunch and reported fears of a potential dip in consumer confidence.

Research by CAP, providers of benchmark used vehicle values and technical data to the UK automotive industry, reveals that a majority of retail used car dealers do not currently expect a significant downturn in buyer demand.

But they are not resting on their laurels, with many planning to better match the stock on their forecourts to customer tastes.

CAP's latest research in the retail used car market reveals that only around 18 per cent of dealers expect to sell significantly fewer used cars this year compared with 2007. Nearly a quarter of dealers researched believe this year's retail used car market will be little different from last year while 36 per cent acknowledge there may be some reduction in sales but that they are not seriously concerned about their retail prospects.

A significant minority of 14 per cent describe themselves as more confident at present than they were at this point a year ago.

While dealers acknowledge that this year's market may be less buoyant than last year, more than half are planning to rise to the challenge by changing the profile of their forecourt stock. For example, a number of used car dealers have told CAP they intend to introduce more 'unusual', 'one-off' or more 'exotic' cars than they previously stocked in order to tempt customers onto the forecourt.

Others say they will focus on other factors, such as lower mileage, smaller, more economical engines and higher specification cars. Diesel engines are also continuing to rise in popularity, with just over half of dealers telling CAP that they are currently seeking to stock more diesels than they were 12 months ago.

Colin Whelan, Business Research Manager for CAP Black Book, the benchmark used car trade values guide, said dealers have enjoyed a strong start to the year and are determined not to allow gloomy headlines about the economy to distract them from the business of winning retail sales.

He said: "Dealers understand that many retail car buyers are increasingly demanding in their choices of used cars, favouring high levels of equipment, strong image, individuality and low running costs. The good news from this research is that dealers are ready to rise to the challenge and tailor their forecourt offering to consumer tastes rather than adopt a 'take it or leave it' approach."

25 January 2008 Staff

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