Some analysts have stopped wondering why the used car market has spat in the face of recession, and have started to predict when it might end instead! So far this year we have seen massive bargains at the beginning of January, with sales events for once actually offering genuine good deals and once February commenced the trade held its breath and wondered how badly sales would fall off. Except they didn’t they actually grew stronger. The auctions broke records everywhere across the country as dealers rushed to buy more cars to replenish depleted stock levels, and apart from some regional pockets both franchised, supermarket and independents all surged past all expectations.
With March came more predictions of the tap turning off, but if anything demand increased as supply stuttered and prices actually went up meaning the depreciation suffered on a 3 year old car during 2008 had all but completely recovered by the beginning of March. It has even been joked by some trade wags that buyers who purchased a car in late December could probably sell it back to the dealer today for a profit! Now that really would be funny, and the irony is that if dealers had predicted this upturn they needn’t have offered such great deals in the first place and kept hold of margins knowing that stock is becoming almost impossible to locate at anything other than crazy prices.
The latest forecast seems to be that the situation will continue until Easter which will be the first major holiday of the year and buyers are traditionally not out in force at this time, meaning there might just be a balancing of supply and demand. We could see prices start to ease and customers may start to have more choice than they certainly have at present. However with new car sales still some way behind last year’s levels and dealers certainly not entering into any suicidal pre-registration exercises then who knows the situation could last until the Autumn.
All potential buyers should consider that, although prices are rising and they may like to exercise caution and wait until prices fall again before taking the plunge, by buying a late plate used car of almost any make and model they will still be buying a much cheaper car than they did at the same time last year!