There is Currently no demand among Used Car Buyers for Petrol 4x4s

Parker’s, Britain’s biggest and best-selling car price guide has gained exclusive information from trade insiders which suggests that there is currently no demand among used car buyers for petrol 4x4s. This means owners of the vehicles may be unable to change their cars as dealers steer clear of the thirsty off-roaders - particularly those with big V8 engines - and are far less likely to take them in part exchange.

Parker’s source confirmed several individual stories of customers who have been refused part exchange for their large petrol 4x4s in order to purchase a new car. And he went on to say that no matter how cheap the car, dealers are simply not accepting the gas guzzling models as they are in danger of sitting on the forecourt for months on end while the value plummets.

Kieren Puffett, Editor of Parker’s comments: "The large 4x4 market should stabilise eventually, but by the time that happens large 4x4s with petrol engines will be worth substantially less that they had been until fairly recently. In the meantime it's hardly surprising that car dealers are nervous of accepting cars like this in part exchange."

It has been further revealed that even if dealers were to offer rock bottom prices for the cars and send them to auction, there is no longer any guarantee they would sell. While owners of 4x4s could be looking to swap due to high petrol costs and the potentially large road tax bill, it seems there is no appetite for the thirsty cars as buyers are put off for the very same reasons. The higher fuel consumption models could cost £100 or more to fill up with soaring petrol prices, and then there’s possibility of becoming liable for more than £450 a year in vehicle excise duty by 2010 for models currently two years old.

Andrew Harrison-Smith, owner of independent Land Rover specialist Nene Overland says that while the whole 4x4 market was facing a difficult time, depreciation on petrol 4x4s is currently very heavy. “Values for petrol engine 4x4s are £3000 or even £4000 lower than for the diesels” he told Parker’s. However he also suggests that owners and buyers could be hit less hard if they consider converting large petrol Land Rovers and Jeeps to run on LPG (liquefied petroleum gas).

The association representing franchised dealers confirmed large off-roaders presented sales staff with a big challenge, but claimed there wasn’t a blanket policy to refuse petrol 4x4s as a part exchanges. Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealer Association told Parker’s “The market for 4x4s has become tougher following the Government’s announcement in the budget of revised VED rates for higher polluting cars. This has had an impact on values of these vehicles, which has meant that all dealers have had to review their stocking policies to make sure they are holding the right stock of vehicle to sell. This is not a new practice, it is something that has occurred for many years as dealers endeavor to hold their optimum stock”.

The advice from Parker’s is to firstly, look at selling your car privately. Parker’s top tips for selling privately include:

  • Ensure the car has had a recent service and MOT to reassure buyers
  • Repair any small chips or dents in the bodywork – a couple of hundred pounds spent could make the difference in selling a car that looks pristine
  • Spend money on a valet
  • Be choosy about where you take the photograph for an advert – bright sunny days are best, park the car at an angle showing the front three quarters for a main picture

The other option is to convert to LPG. Many petrol 4x4 owners convert their cars to run on both LPG and petrol. LPG is around half the price of unleaded petrol and is available from about 1300 filling stations in the UK. However, take care when considering this; it isn’t a simple task of adding a tank and a fuel line, certain components must also be changed, so find a LP Gas Association approved converter to carry out the work.

1 July 2008 Staff

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