This week the auctions we visited have seemed somewhat quieter than of recent times, and as we have said before nice car examples are still achieving top money, while cars that missed the boat in terms of colour, condition and spec are not making the big returns they were a few weeks ago. The interesting thing when talking to dealers is that they are reporting a slowdown in footfall and sales, particularly of used cars, are showing a definite easing off. Is this down to the recent holidays and better weather or is it simply a lack of choice at the right price? Is the fact that so much emphasis in the press has been about new cars and this has subsequently encouraged more customers to take advantage of new car deals where they can have the exact car they want in the colour and spec of their choice? All these questions encourage different opinions from region to region.
Some are saying volume is down but profitability is up due to an acceptance that by underselling a car, dealers may not necessarily be able to easily replace it. While others insist they are marching on with volume but that prices have reached a plateau as customers are now becoming reluctant to pay them.
Our theory is that because of the almost universal record sales in used cars for the first quarter of 2009, it just seems a lot quieter when compared to the heady days of January and February and half the business of March.
Maybe it’s just a time to breathe out as this looks like a long anticipated market correction. When you track back it could also be that the climate in car sales is just the seasonal norm and the market is working along the right lines for the time of year.