With CAP recently downgrading trade prices across the board by 1.4 per cent, and some executive cars suffering as much as an 8 per cent drop, PH caught up with a couple of industry bods to find out what's afoot.
After the financial woes of 2008 it seems that some fleet operators - who of course feed the used market with a lot of cars - decided to alter their usual policy of running cars for three years/60,000 miles and extended this to four years/80,000 miles (...more in some cases). These cars have now made their way onto the used market, but trade buyers aren't so keen to buy.
Steve Carman, a director at the Vehicle Remarketing Association explained what's happening: 'Prices are generally being pegged-back and demand is down. Trade buyers are acquiring fewer cars at auction and are being very choosey about what they want on their forecourts - it's not uncommon for four- or five-year-old executive cars like 3 and 5 Series BMWs with 100,000 miles on the clock to get no bids. Lower-spec cars especially have been suffering because of course the traders know they have a better chance of moving higher mileage cars if they're better-equipped.'
However, if you're interested then you might want to act sooner rather than later, because according to Chris Crowe, Chief Editor of the CAP Black Book, the early signs are that August is bucking the trend of recent months. 'There was a big slow-down between April and June, but the signs are that the market adjustment for August will actually be significantly less than the earlier summer months. Values have continued to fall, and cars like 5-Series BMWs and E-Class Mercedes Benz's have taken a big hit. Smaller cars though are doing well as more buyers are chasing less stock.'
So it looks like if you're in the market for a three-year-old executive car on low-ish miles, then you might find it harder to find these cars than usual, and if you want something small and on low miles you can expect to pay a premium.
However, if a bit of used rear-wheel-drive action is your bag and you're not put off by slightly high miles there should be bargains to be had.