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A SLOWDOWN in used car trade has opened the door to better deals for smart motorists, according to the car information experts CAP Automotive.
As consumer focus swings to holidays and gardens, the usual summertime brakes have now been applied to used car sales.
It means that dealers are even more eager to do what they can to keep stock turning over – making this one of the best times of the year to shop for a used car.
But many motorists are still researching the market, as visits to CAP’s free car valuation service shows – and dealer research also confirms that customer enquiries have fallen only marginally.
Evidence for the slowdown in sales is revealed by CAP’s research among a panel of around 100 specialist independent used car dealers across the country.
It is part of the research for Black Book Live, the real-time used car trade valuation tool relied on by professionals across the automotive industry.
The latest survey shows that not only have sales been steadily reducing over recent weeks, but dealers have low expectations for the rest of the summer.
This contrasts sharply with the same period last year, when a bumper used car market saw almost none of the traditional softening in sales seen in the summer months.
Because the used car market has been unusually strong for the past 18 months, dealers will feel the return to ‘business as usual’ even more keenly than in previous years, according to experts.
Another illustration of the current used car climate is dealer descriptions of business conditions right now. A year ago an overwhelming majority of dealers described conditions as good or stable. Now confidence has dipped to the same level CAP recorded back in December – another traditionally slow period for used car sales.
Mike Hind, of CAP Automotive, said: “The bottom isn’t falling out of the market by any means but the fact is that fewer people spend their cash on used cars in the summer months.
“Because dealers have been enjoying exceptionally good times over the past couple of years, human nature means they will feel the return to a quieter period more strongly than they might have done in years gone by.
“That makes it more of a buyers’ market than when the forecourts are brimming with customers, so dealers will have more incentive to win the sale.
“Dealers still also face the problem of a lot of poor quality cars in the wholesale market, which cost them a lot to recondition for retail sale.
“This means customers with well looked after part-exchanges to offer will be especially welcome.”
CAP Automotive Ltd