Dealers are gearing up for the expected upturn by selling out of their existing stock, which was possibly purchased a couple of months ago when prices were at their peak. There is now a straight choice; continue trying to achieve sticker prices which are unrealistic and subsequently carry on holding ageing stock, or sell the older stock at more realistic current market prices and take advantage of a very real softening of trade values to maximise profits. The second approach would also offset losses which are inevitable when coming off the back off such historically high prices for used cars.
The next few weeks will prove an interesting time for car sales as dealers look to start putting their promotional campaigns together whilst at the same time being mindful of higher inventory levels and the possibility that prices may rise again in January.
Ironically, hardly anyone called the market correctly last year and the situation caught lots of us by pleasant surprise. But that same positive marketplace also had the direct effect of overheating the market. The sheer extent of that overheating means that trying to predict how next year will start, with all the impending changes, will be at least as difficult.
One thing is for sure, though, all car dealers will certainly be looking to get off to as fast a start as possible in 2010 and will try to keep the momentum going through the first quarter.
This means buyers of used cars especially, should be able to reap the very real benefits by securing some great deals in the coming weeks and months. To take the temperature of the trade we will endeavour to highlight, wherever possible, the best examples of both new and used cars and finance packages.