Supermarkets and franchised dealerships keep pace with rising used car prices in September

Used-car supermarkets and franchise retailers responded to the sector’s stability in September to increase the value of their inventory of advertised vehicles by 1.5% and 1%, respectively.

Data from eBay Motors Group’s monthly Market View analysis showed the average value of a used car advertised on its platforms rose for a second consecutive month – by 0.6% to £16,753 – in september.

Car supermarkets and franchise retailers were able to increase the value of their stock, he said, as the balance between supply and demand fell by one day compared to the average number of selling days in August, which fell to 36.6 days.

And despite their price hikes, the improvement was mostly felt by car supermarkets, as they sold vehicles an average of 29.2 days, down from 32.5, as franchise dealers reduced their selling days to 29, 7 days, compared to 32.3 days in August.

Independents saw an increase from 45.7 to 46.9 days, according to data from eBay Motors.

Cars priced between £20,000 and £40,000 sold the fastest last month, he added, averaging just 30.5 days on dealer forecourts. Those priced below £10,000 were the slowest to sell, with those priced between £5,000 and £9,999 averaging 48.6 days.

Lucy Tugby, eBay Motors Group Marketing Director, said: “Despite soaring household costs impacting purchasing power, supply and demand proved to be well balanced in September with improvements marginal prices and inventory turnover, while inventories followed August closely.

“At a time of growing economic uncertainty, this data highlights the robustness of the used car market.”

Despite the “robust” market, Tugby warned retailers that the coming months could face volatility due to rising financial costs for consumers resulting from interest rate hikes by the Bank of England.

Last month, the National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA) advised a meeting of its members that auto retailers’ used car forecourts are unlikely to benefit from “significant volumes” of additional inventory due to the seasonal increase in sector sales in September.

Inventory levels fell for the fifth consecutive month, according to eBay Motors, although the 2% drop to 47.9 was the equivalent of just one unit, with inventories at the same level as September last year.

Average inventories at franchise dealerships fell from 71 to 69 units, while independents fell from 36 to 35 units, while auto supermarkets remained unchanged at 290 units.

Tugby said: “Franchise dealers will have been disappointed not to take advantage of the influx of part exchanges in September, but are hoping deliveries of 72 plates will trickle in over the next few months.

“Although dealer listings continue to be dominated by petrol and diesel models, views of electric vehicles on are following at a higher rate than in the pre-Covid period of 2019 and have consistently outperformed hybrids since May.

“While the volume of used EVs remains relatively low compared to ICE vehicles, buyer interest is increasing month on month. Dealerships able to source and market EVs are achieving rapid sales, as illustrated by the Vauxhall Mokka EV which had an average of just 4.9 days of stock in September.

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