With every man and his dog predicting tough times in the trade next year and not to mention more bad weather in the short term at least, dealers are gearing up for the pre-new year sales in the hope that they at least get the year off to a flyer.
Despite the gloom there are still buyers out there but they are being choosier than ever before and as far as used cars go, there is probably as much choice around as there has been at anytime this year.
Major dealer groups are gambling on the fact that prices are inevitably going to rise in the first few weeks of 2011 and are stocking up now and avoiding filling forecourts in January and paying over the odds.
Every year in the trade at this time many dealers de-stock due to banking arrangements and working capital issues and then often go out and replace the same stock they have sold pre-Christmas with identical cars which cost £500 more in January!
The feeling this year, with the cuts getting deeper people worried about jobs and the rise in VAT, is that the demand for cars in January may not be as frenzied as it has in the last few years. Although there will be customers who want to take advantage of any price reductions by buying early and having much more choice, and that is certainly the way we are calling it.
There will be deals to be had and a lot of choice but the underlying fact is that there is simply not enough quality used cars to sustain the market over the next few years given the shrinking new car numbers. As a result, from a customer perspective, if you want as near to the first choice as possible look early and make that decision, because it may not be around the next day.