An overwhelming majority of car retailers (84%) say the availability of used car stock is their biggest concern, according to May’s Startline Used Car Tracker.
This is the highest level since the monthly survey first began 13 months ago, with the previous high of 77% being recorded in July 2022.
Additionally, 54% say that the general condition of stock is worsening and 41% that the cars they are retailing are getting older, while 39% are looking for new sources of stock.
No dealers in the research reported that stock is getting younger and just 2% that condition is improving.
More than a quarter (26%) of those surveyed also say some types of vehicles are in improved supply but conversely, 24% reported that availability of others is getting worse. Overall, 57% say that the situation remains poor.
The Startline Used Car Tracker is compiled monthly for Startline Motor Finance by APD Global Research and is based on responses from 59 dealers and 302 consumers.
Paul Burgess, Startline Motor Finance chief executive, said: “Demand in the used car market remains really quite strong, despite the cost of living crisis and other economic difficulties, while new car supply remains well below historic levels, even though it is slowly improving.
“What this means is that the stock supply situation just isn’t really getting any better for dealers and, in some key respects, is getting worse, with retailers having to sell cars that are continuing to age and in worsening condition.
“While more than a third of dealers report that they are looking for new sources of stock, there are no easy solutions to these problems. New car production is unlikely to suddenly ramp up while consumer demand gives every impression that it will stay pretty resilient.”
Freelance writer for AM, Tom Seymour has been a specialist B2B journalist covering the automotive sector for over 14 years. He started his freelance career in 2015 and currently writes for a variety of automotive, business and technology publications.
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