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Used car values set new industry high in December 2012

British Car Auctions Pulse reveals impact of shortfall in used cars for sale

As the SMMT reports a 3.7% increase in new car sales in December 2012, leading vehicle auction company, British Car Auctions (BCA) has released its data for the same month for used car sales. BCA’s latest Pulse report shows that average values rose sharply in December in a short month for trading that was also relatively short of stock. Across the board used cars averaged £7,361, a significant month-on-month rise of £940 (14.6%) compared to November and the highest monthly figure on record. Year-on-year, December 2012 was ahead by £910 or 14.1%.

However, model mix was largely responsible for the increase, as BCA sold a greater proportion of high value fleet/lease and nearly-new cars during December, while dealer part-exchange volumes fell in the immediate pre-Christmas period.

Alongside the change in mix, professional buyers were relatively active in December, competing to secure stock for retail forecourts over the usually busy New Year period. Values improved in all three sectors, with year-on-year values remaining well ahead for fleet/lease, dealer part-exchange and nearly-new cars.

BCA Communications Director Tony Gannon commented, “December typically records an uplift in month-on-month values and this year was no exception. In fact, records were established in 2010 and 2011, so it should come as no surprise that December 2012 would set a new benchmark value, particularly when factoring in the general lack of stock in the marketplace.

“Overall, prices remain strong despite demand being relatively flat and the lack of stock has generally meant good returns for business sellers. This stock shortage is a long term issue and is unlikely to change until new car volumes pick up significantly and the economy improves enough to generate a bigger churn of vehicles in the marketplace.

“Currently there appears to be little on the horizon that is going to change those wider market conditions, but with the continuing economic pressures and reduced consumer confidence we should not expect to see the same robust value growth in 2013 that was experienced in 2012.”

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