A customer opening the door of a car in a showroom

Used car dealers optimistic about Q4

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Dealers are feeling positive about the used car market as we move into the final quarter of the year, according to the latest survey by automotive experts cap hpi.

Sales last month were better than expected, with over a third (39%) of dealers reporting a rise in consumer demand compared to August. A further third (33%) said that demand was similar to the previous month and only a quarter (27%) saw a downturn from August to September.

Customer receiving car keysTwo in five dealers (41%) reported an increase in footfall, and almost half (48%) saw an increase in online activity.

Meanwhile, 32% of those surveyed reported a tightening in used car margins, compared to 44% in August, indicating a rise in profitability.

Looking ahead, cap hpi found a positive sentiment among dealers.

Philip Nothard, consumer and retail specialist at cap hpi, noted that October is generally a strong month in the used car market with no signs of footfall or enquiry levels tailing-off.

Over the next few weeks stock levels are likely to grow and, as new car handovers gain momentum, forecourt space will start to fill up with part-exchange vehicles. The continuing strong used retail demand should help keep dealer stock levels under control.

"Analysing dealer sentiment for the coming months, it's safe to say the majority indicate they believe new car sales in Q4 will be worse or similar to the 536,617 in 2015. Just over a third are anticipating a sales increase," Nothard commented.

"So whilst the sentiment on new cars appears to be reasonably steady, the outlook for Q4 on used cars seems marginally more positive; with over half (56%) signifying an improvement on the 2015 result of 1,667,287 and just below a third pointing to an equal performance."

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