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“Government must do more to get the wheels of the motor industry turning again”

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As a result, like many other car dealerships, Clive Sutton is having to change and diversify to suit the marketplace.  With the new car market still very sluggish, the used car market has been gathering pace over the past six months. Many buyers are turned off by the prospect of a brand new car but are tempted into the used car market. These consumers are looking for a good value, low mileage motor with big savings on the new price. It is worth noting that values on some of these cars are 20 per cent higher than this time last year.

In order to bring some clarity to what is happening in the luxury and performance car market I have published the first in a series of quarterly market reports. The first edition features Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Porsche and Ferrari, evaluates ‘advertised pricing’ and shares my personal opinion of a realistic market price, together with some useful tips on what to look for and what to avoid. The market report will give you an insight into the luxury car market place whether you are considering dipping into the market, or, indeed, if you currently own one of these cars and may be thinking about selling it on.

Certainly in today’s economic climate, there are a number of owners wedged into luxury cars that now have substantial negative equity. These cars cannot be sold easily without cash payments to cover shortfalls in proceeds of sale and in some cases these shortfalls can be rather sizeable.

From the dealer’s perspective, even when finance is in place, trade disposal of part exchange cars will not enable us to close many deals. To clear existing finance settlements we are finding that we need to place a client’s existing car with another client to enable a sale to occur. In other words we sell two cars to make one profit. These property-style chain deals are set to become more popular as the only way to trade on.

In response to requests from those who need finance settled on the sale and finance arranged on the purchase, I have recently launched a brokerage service for those who are both buying or selling high-end motor cars.

Through the brokerage we can sell your car for you by preparing it to get the best possible market price. We deal with the buyer and act as a personal agent. This takes away the hassle of selling privately, without having to accept low trade prices. Secondly, you can also buy a car from us in this way too, taking the hassle out of finding the right car. Basically, we do all the legwork, sourcing you a car and ensuring that it is in pristine condition, fully serviced and ready to go. It is an exclusive one- on-one service that reflects the level of personalisation people now demand from the motor industry.

The lack of sufficient funding for consumer financing of cars is a serious obstacle to getting the wheels of the motor industry turning again. My recommendation to the government is not only to focus on financial support for the manufacturers but also to assist the rest of the supply chain. A government backed consumer finance company would enable dealers to sell more cars, whilst some support for the dealerships that have traditionally relied heavily on manufacturer bonus hand outs to survive, would be welcome.  The scrappage scheme, whilst undoubtedly stimulating the entry level and giving brands such as Hyundai and Kia a boost, has not gone far enough for the  majority of the market. By extending the scheme to include cars up to 18 months old and not just buying brand new, this would open up the support to a much wider range of buyers and dealers.

Perversely, a number of car manufacturers are putting their new car list prices up, as the volume of unsold new cars has reduced.  With many new cars heavily discounted to get them sold, the new car market is returning to a ‘spec and order’ situation with a number of list prices increasing and with very few substantial discounts. For example, this week I could not even source a VW Golf with factory fitted sat nav!  My advice is: don’t be too fussy and you can still get good deals on a number of existing physical cars.

Related articlesClive Sutton puts the Geneva Motor Show through its paces What next for the financially hard-up motorist? Women get in gear for the buying process

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