Strong start to 2018

Strong start to 2018 for Cox Automotive as January figures reveal dealer optimism

2018 has started strongly for Cox Automotive with positive figures across the board for the group's businesses, indicating a healthy market with high levels of dealer optimism.

Average sale prices in Manheim's online and physical auction lanes remained steady (within 0.2% of December) at £6,627, with average mileage across vehicles up 2.6% from 58,331 to 59,195.

A strong start to 2018 for Cox Automotive

Following the expected seasonal fluctuation in December, Manheim recorded a 68% month-on-month increase in sold volumes during January, reflecting the traditional uplift in the market in this month of the year.

Head of External Relations, Philip Nothard, said: "We expect to see a big increase in volume between December and January as dealers stock up in anticipation of demand on the forecourts, so the month-on-month increase is indicative of a healthy market that is running to normal seasonal rhythms."

He added: "In terms of wholesale stock sources, Manheim has seen a 56% uplift in ex-fleet volumes month-on-month, and a 77% increase in part-exchange vehicles, leading to a good mix of high quality stock in the lanes, which is again, in line with expectations."

Further reflecting the positivity, Dealer Auction, the UK's largest trade-to-trade online auction platform, reported a 13% increase in average sales values and 11% increase in average sales volumes, compared to December data. The business also noted a 15% year-on-year increase in diesels sold at online auction during the month.

We expect dealers will continue to buy to stock forecourts, but remain cautious
- Philip Nothard, Head of External Communications

Continuing the trend, NextGear Capital, the wholesale stock funding business saw the average cost per unit hit £7,241, a 6.2% year-on-year growth. The average holding days for the month increased to 66.

In addition to the strong wholesale performance, the group's consumer market also remained steady. Average sold prices through Motors.co.uk, Cox Automotive's car sales website, saw a year-on-year increase of 13.4%, reaching £14,403, compared to £12,701 in January last year.

Nothard said: "Following a challenging end to 2017, where we saw the combined effects of bad weather and seasonal fluctuations affect the market, we are pleased to see figures return to the norm for the time of year.

"The strong month has put the market in a healthy position, and the sentiment across dealer networks remains optimistic as we go into February. We are seeing a strong interest in quality, 'ready to retail' vehicles through our wholesale channels, and we expect dealers to continue to plan ahead in order to keep up with consumer demand."

Nothard continues: "From a consumer perspective, many dealers reported a very positive start to the year with double-digit growth for used car sales, predominantly in the closing week of the month as the first pay packets arrived.

"There is still consumer uncertainty surrounding new cars and naturally this has caused hesitation for a large proportion of dealers to invest in this market, however, we expect dealers will continue to buy to stock forecourts, but remain cautious."

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