The balance of stocking diesel, petrol, hybrid and alternative fuel used cars is set to become a more important issue for dealers over the course of 2018, says the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA).
The trade body, which represents members that are involved in the remarketing of more than 1.5 million vehicles per year in total, says that the process is likely to be relatively measured but also unavoidable.
VRA chairman Glenn Sturley said: “Despite all of the negative publicity surrounding diesels, the fact is that crucial measures such as their average value and stocking days barely changed, although it was possible to detect a slight decline.
“However, dealers that we speak to are very sure that the sentiment of customers is changing and we are certainly at the leading edge of a long term decline in diesel, something that we expect to see continue as a trend in 2018.
“What this is likely to mean is that the old, blunt logic of the used car market – petrol or diesel for superminis and smaller, diesel for everything bigger, plus the newer fuels for a handful of other sales – is starting to become undone.”
Instead, he said, dealers were increasingly looking towards a mix of fuels across their stock to meet a range of customer preferences.
“We are moving towards a subtler approach where dealers may want to offer a choice of fuels for the more popular models that they sell and there may even be an increased awareness of the benefits and otherwise of particular engines in particular models,” explained Sturley.
“The main constriction when it comes to adopting this way of thinking is simply going to be availability of stock – the market has been dominated by diesel for so long that it will unavoidably dominate the used car sector for some years to come.
“Really, the question is whether we will start to see something that hasn’t happened to any great extent so far – an increase in values for petrol and hybrid versions of certain models.”
Sturley said that, from a remarketing point of view, the main objective was to ensure that the market was as transparent as possible, allowing dealers to access the fuel mix they desired.
He concluded: “It is a question of the sector adopting to this new approach and ensuring that resale values are maximised by putting the right vehicles in front of the right dealers.”