It’s been well documented that the current positivity regarding used car sales has been seen as a welcome relief to most dealers. It has also been acknowledged that the market got it badly wrong in the last few months of 2008 with regard to the decimation of used car values. Four wheel drives and sporty large engined petrol cars were seen as the epitome of evil and bailing out of one due to the bad press surrounding gas guzzling eco-enemies felt like a public duty to many dealers and customers who could only see the value of these cars going one way. Then nearly new 4wd’s, which cost in excess of £50k new were suddenlyselling for less than half that, prompting shrewd buyers who didn’t follow the lemmings to take advantage. The upshot of the first quarter is that so many consumers have taken advantage of these unprecedented deals that dealers find themselves having more customers than cars to sell and the ones they can get are fetching the money they were probably worth in the first place. This means that many outlets will need to be more creative in how they fill precious display spaces, and the old adage ‘you can’t sell empty spaces” has never been so true.
Many franchised dealers are combating this by trying to sell cars which are not specific to the brand which they represent, for consumers this will mean they could find a Ford Mondeo Titanium on the forecourt of a Vauxhall dealer, a BMW 320 convertible on the forecourt of a Volvo dealer and an Audi A3 TDi sport on a VW dealer forecourt.
They will almost certainly be cheaper than the franchise they belong to because the theory is ”let’s have a go at it” If it’s cheaper than at the main dealer and we can still make some money it’s better than selling it to the franchise and let them make all the profit.
Is this the changing face of used car retailing, in that everyone sells everything because they cannot locate enough of their own brands cars?