Retail - summary
  • With half a million fewer diesel vehicles registered in the last two years and January showing a further -20.3% decline, the fuel share landscape is undoubtedly shifting with just 29% diesels sold compared to 45% January 2017
  • New registrations continue to face headwinds as consumer confidence stays at a two year low, however, used car retailers remain buoyant and optimistic.
  • More than half of the respondents in the January Monthly Market Survey cited that margin pressures were worse than the same period in 2018, with only 15% citing margin growth
  • Constraints on stock availability had a positive impact on used cars for dealers, as over half report that both overage and days in stock had reduced in January compared to the same period last year
  • Dealers squarely divided, as nearly half anticipate the economic conditions to remain stable or improve over coming months and cite similar for sourcing stock
  • The market for ready-to-retail vehicles also remains intensely competitive as dealers focus on the used market to bolster new car sales
  • Stocking the right cars on the forecourt is key, and dealers would do well to look for affordable family cars (sub £10,000), as consumer demand is strong in this category
  • 55% of dealers cited a reduction in footfall in January 2019 compared to the same period 2018; countered by 60% indicated a rise in online activity
Wholesale - summary
  • Wholesale volumes rose month-on-month in line with expectations in January, a sign that the used market is following normal seasonal patterns despite uncertainty in the economy as a whole
  • Competition for the ready-to-retail stock remains fierce
  • Stocking the right cars on the forecourt is key, and dealers would do well to look for affordable family cars (sub £10,000), as consumer demand is strong in this category
  • January observed the average value for part-exchange vehicles sold through auction lanes increase by 5% YoY to £4,369 whilst average mileage (75,716) remained on a par with mileage figures observed throughout 2018
  • Dealer-Auction.com reports that vehicle sales were up 10% year-on-year, and a 7% average price increase to £5,097, reflecting the strength in used vehicle activity
  • The dawn of ‘dieselgate’ three years ago had a relatively low impact on the used market when compared to new, however, we are starting to see lower numbers of diesel vehicles in the ‘nearly new’ age bracket
  • Diesel and petrol average selling prices in wholesale eased in January, the lowest seen in 6-months with the averages remaining stable at £7,787 (Diesel) and £4,508 (Petrol)
  • 50% of dealers have adjusted behaviours in light of ASA ruling – but 1 in 10 dispute its validity
  • One in five dealers surveyed said they’ve had to adjust values downwards to compensate for the additional VED cost. Just 18% report experiencing no impact
Funding - summary
  • A strong January, with a 7.4% YoY increase in the average cost per unit (-2.8% compared to December 2018 decrease)
  • Average holding days funded remains stable YoY with a minor increase of 3 days from December 2018
  • Survey results show dealers share a very positive outlook for the year ahead. Additional used car stock is part of the 2019 business plan of 52% of car retailers, as 65% target growth in the sector
  • The average age of funded units continued in line with the 2018 average at 6.2 years, while the average mileage remained stable at 61,882

The Monthly Market Report includes our 2019 outlook for retail, wholesale and funding sectors as below:

Retail 2019 Outlook
  • Increasing appetite for Manufacturers and Dealers to embrace eCommerce
  • Demand grows for advanced vehicle imagery solutions to drive online buyer confidence
  • Dealers investing in PPC advertising to drive sales as consumers turn to online for their next vehicle
Wholesale 2019 Outlook
  • Demand for retail-ready stock will drive efficiencies in vehicle services, assisted by enhanced imagery
  • An increasingly agnostic approach to physical and digital sales streams will emerge to complement changing buyer behaviours
  • Buyers will expect increased transparency to drive stock confidence, leading to more detailed vehicle descriptions and assurance checks
Funding 2019 Outlook
  • A strong appetite for growth means cash flow remains a priority for dealers
  • An increased focus on digital integration is helping dealers to purchase stock hassle free from a variety of sources
  • Ease and flexibility remains key for dealers