An opportunity for used cars as new car sales set to decline in 2018?


The expected decline in new car registrations in 2018 could be an opportunity for many dealers. The opportunity will be for those of you who understand the potential of an efficient used car operation. Many of the larger dealer groups clearly do as they’re either investing in existing used car operations or strengthening their market presence by acquiring used car businesses. This has recently been reinforced by the comment from Glass’s that “we are entering a period where the used car is king, more than the new car”.

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Attractive as the popular PCPs are, they do require a financial commitment of three to four years, there are usually mileage restrictions and vehicle condition can lead to financial penalties. In contrast, used cars may require lower levels of financial outlay and commitment without mileage or condition constraints. As family budgets remain under close scrutiny the prospect of a used, rather than a new car purchase becomes ever more compelling.

Used car sales will exceed eight million units in 2017, more than three times as many as new car sales in the same period. That ratio of used vs new is expected to continue in 2018 and beyond. How can you be better prepared to respond to that demand?

[quote cite=”Glass’s”]We are entering a period where the used car is king, more than the new car[/quote]

Market data will help you decide which vehicles to stock. There is enough data available to help you select the right stock and not all that data has to be paid for. The SMMT issues quarterly statistics of used car sales showing both the top 10 models as well as top 10 colours. Auto Trader issues monthly data of the most searched cars overall as well as breakdown by fuel type. Combining these two sources of market data will provide you with a good guide to what models you should offer for sale.

If you want to ramp up your used car operation and maximise stock turn, you should embrace technology to source stock if you have not already done so. Traditional, physical auctions may be the source of choice for some of you, but an increasing number are experiencing the benefits and added flexibility of online auctions.

With ADESA you can buy vehicles anywhere through our intuitive, easy to use App and locator on mobile, tablet or desktop. Through UPSTREAM you get the earliest possible access to quality stock from some of the UK’s largest fleets including Arval, Motability and Northgate Plc.

You can view full and accurate appraisals and see detailed images and video of vehicles on sale. And because you’re purchasing a vehicle through ADESA, you’ll receive a ‘No See Guarantee’, on every vehicle you buy. That means if the vehicle is not as described upon delivery, we’ll take it back and give you a full refund.

ADESA UPSTREAM is leading the way in online auctions. It’s simple – you find a car online, you bid, you buy. It means less time sourcing, more time selling.


Auto Trader’s Top 10 most searched cars in 2017

  1. BMW 3 series
  2. Volkswagen Golf
  3. Mercedes-Benz C-class
  4. Ford Focus
  5. BMW 1 series
  6. BMW 5 series
  7. Ford Fiesta
  8. Audi A3
  9. Mercedes-Benz E-class
  10. Vauxhall Astra


Used Car Sales – Jan to Sept 2017 (source SMMT)

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Ford Focus
  3. Vauxhall Corsa
  4. Vauxhall Astra
  5. Volkswagen Golf
  6. BMW 3 series
  7. Renault Clio
  8. MINI
  9. Volkswagen Polo
  10. Audi A3


Used Car colours – Jan to Sept 2017 (source SMMT)

  1. Silver
  2. Black
  3. Blue
  4. Grey
  5. White
  6. Red
  7. Green
  8. Beige
  9. Yellow
  10. Brown

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