It is encouraging that the overall used car market remained stable in the first quarter of 2019, with demand being boosted by supply issues with new cars due to Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).
Despite a sales dip of -0-6% compared with 2018, there were still 2,020,144 used transactions in Q1, with March being the busiest month in terms of volume so far this year. This is a normal trend for the time of year as the supply of used vehicles tends to pick up following the plate change.
Growth in the market came through sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars (BEVs), which rose 30.7% so far in the year to 32,272 units. Earlier this year NAMA reported that we expect to see more plug-in hybrids and BEVs going through auctions in 2019, increasing supply and starting to normalise their price behaviour.
Auction activity was unprecedented in 2018, with both first time conversion rates and average values up, and it seems 2019 is set to follow a similar trend.
The supply of used cars has been affected by less part-exchange and de-fleeted vehicles due to a lower volume of new car registrations. Generally consumers are seeing more value in buying used vehicles rather than new.
Members are reporting buyout used car activity with plenty of consumer interest, which in turn means dealers needing to buy stock. We look forward to seeing what the second quarter brings.