Used car forecourt with a row of approved used Skodas
Q2 used car sales: slump never happened...
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MUCH to the relief of many an SME business car manager and user worried about residual values, a seeming major crash of the UK used car market reported last week was caused not by Brexit but a badly driven algorithm. And never actually happened.

A somewhat embarrassed Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) has acknowledged that its statistics published last week showing a record-breaking 13.5 per cent fall in the Uk’s used car market in this year’s second quarter was wildly inaccurate.

The true drop was only 0.7 per cent, leaving total used car sales actually up by 1.5 per cent for the year’s first half compared with 2016.

A “rogue” algorithm in the SMMT’s data cruncher of  registration statistics supplied from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency was responsible for the misreading, SMMT officials insisted.

Also  faintly embarrassing from the point of view of Mike Hawes, the likeable, very pro-Remain SMMT chief executive, is a bounce-back of car production in July.  Just a month ago Hawes had said that,  amid all the EU uncertainty,  there was now no prospect of UK car output hitting  a target of 2m a year by 2020.

That prediction was spurred by a drop in output of 14 per cent, year on year, in June. But it was 9 per cent higher in July, with buoyancy expected to continue as a result of some major new models such as Land Rover’s Range Rover Velar and Jaguar XF estate car coming on stream.

“They’ve stepped up a gear,” Hawes acknowledged.

Revised Q2 used car sales figures

  • Used car transactions remain steady, falling -0.7% in Q2 2017, as market mirrors downturn in new car registrations
  • Year-to-date sales remain stable, up 1.3% to over 4.2 million units.
  • Diesels remain popular, with nearly 1.7m bought in first half of 2017, an increase of 4.0%, as alternatively fuelled vehicles enjoy 26.1% boost.
  • source: SMMT
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