Buyers flock to the used car sector

With many waiting until March’s new registration plates before purchasing a vehicle, a slight drop in registrations for February was perhaps not surprising. The market fell -0.3% overall in the month compared with February 2017, with falls of 4.4% in private registrations and 5.3% in business registrations not quite balanced by the 3.3% uplift in fleet.

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PCPs drive used car market as new car sector contracts

The pressure may be on in the new car market, with the growth in 2016 driven by fleet and falls in volume predicted for 2017 and 2018. But private buyers have not left the market altogether, with used car sales rising 7.9% in 2016, principally driven by the availability of used car PCP finance.

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Lower volumes and strong demand bolsters values

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Private registrations continue to fall back

Another monthly fall in private registrations, with November seeing 1.2% fewer than the same period last year, means year-to-date private registrations are now just 0.1% ahead of 2015. It was down to fleet to drive growth in the market, with a 5.1% rise in November, combined with a big increase in business registrations, meaning the month finished up 2.9% overall, delivering a 2.5m year-to-date record.

Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) remained strong in the month, growing 25.1% to 6,663 units, representing 3.6% of the market – the highest ever achieved.

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Private registrations fall 1.1% in October

Commentators are acknowledging that automotive retailers need to key an eye on private registrations following yet another monthly fall, dropping 1.1% in October compared with the same month in 2015. With business registrations also down, it was only the 4.2% growth in fleet registrations that drove overall growth of 1.4%.

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PSA Group unites mobility and smart services

PSA Group has united its mobility and smart services offering under a new brand, Free2Move, which it says is a response to the major shifts taking place in society and the emergence of new collaborative ways of using transport.

Free2Move unites all of the PSA Group’s new mobility solutions – including car sharing, smart services, fleet sharing, fleet management and lease – with the aim of satisfying the full spectrum of consumers’ transport needs. The company says the new brand will develop sustainable, smart, safe and shared mobility solutions.

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Plate change fails to drive retail growth

While the 66-plate change saw registrations in the UK top the two million mark, with overall growth in September of 1.6% compared with the same month in 2015, all of this came from the fleet sector, as private registrations fell 1.7%. This also means that year-to-date growth has fallen again, from 2.8% in August to 2.6% now.

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Fleet drives growth as retail falls again

The UK new car market returned to growth in August, but the 3.3% increase was all driven by the fleet sector. Retail registrations fell by 0.2% and business registrations by over 28%. Retail registrations have now fallen in each of the last three months.

Year-to-date registrations are still running ahead of the same period in 2015 overall, but the increase in retail registrations has now dropped to 1.0%.

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Smaller businesses expected to increase fleet numbers in 2016

Fleet operators are growing in confidence, with 43% believing that the total number of cars and vans they run will increase over the next three years. This sense of optimism is strongest among smaller businesses where 44% are predicting growth compared to 4% who predict a decrease in fleet size.

Amongst the largest fleets these figures are 42% and 17% respectively. The UK is also more optimistic that Europe overall, with 30% of European fleets forecasting that they will expand over the same time period.

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Too soon to predict a strong second quarter for sales

After the hectic pace of March it was unsurprising that we had a slight slowdown in April. Every living prospect had been dragged forwards into the first quarter and, as always, it was time for a bit of holiday and a slight realignment of the market to a level closer to natural levels.

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