The unseasonably mild weather in most places is putting some dealers in danger of static 4wd’s which they have bought at a premium in anticipation of the familiar snow which usually greets us at this time of year.
The converse to this however is that convertibles are actually selling, although not in great numbers, for canny buyers who believe that buying now will save paying a premium during the spring and summer months (and perhaps are brave enough to venture out with the top down in January).
It is expected that the battleground will largely be fought around 3 year and older cars as they become fewer and further between and buyers continue turning away from new cars. There is also a concern that car makers will start pressurising dealers into self-registrations on a much larger scale which will once again cause distortion in the market as manufacturers strive to gain more market share when there are not really the buyers to do it organically.
Hopefully we will not witness the scenes of a few years ago where there fields of unwanted new cars across the country and container ships circling the UK unable to offload the next batch of new cars with no homes to go to.
The lessons will, with any luck, have been leaned that this policy is not good for anyone least of all customers as it destroys residual values and makes older cars more expensive as a knock on.
On a positive note there are signs that buyer confidence is still out there with many dealers reporting healthy footfall without any particular stampede.
Dealers who took advantage of lower prices at the end of 2011 are now in a position to maximise profitability on this stock whilst others have to pay much higher prices as stock in the short term becomes harder to come by.
The market is already witnessing the “leper effect” on Saab which, much the same as in the demise of Rover, has seen values of this once great car fall through the floor as buyers both trade and retail lose complete confidence in any decent sell on value or indeed a reliable back up for maintaining them as there is no longer a viable dealer network.
It will be intriguing to see if anymore car makers come under the same pressure, as we reported on the problems currently being experienced by Renault, it could be a case of who is next!