Dealers have their sights set on growth in 2019 according to the latest dealer sentiment survey undertaken by Manheim, with stocking and retailing a greater volume of used cars identified as priorities.

Four in five dealers report having investment plans to support their used car business in 2019. Half say they plan to invest in additional used car stock, while one in five say they will be investing in preparation facilities, including reconditioning and retail ready capabilities. Seven per cent plan to invest in additional locations for the retailing of used vehicles.

The report matches with data from Cox Automotive released this month which shows that the used car market continued to outperform new in October, while WLTP emissions testing continued to impact supply of new cars.

When asked about their confidence over stock availability to the end of this year, just over half of the dealers responding (52%) reported being ‘quite confident’, while a further 10% said they were ‘very confident’.

Philip Nothard, strategy director at Cox Automotive, said: “It’s encouraging to find there’s a generally optimistic sentiment about current trading conditions amongst the dealers. Looking at both this sentiment and our latest trading data, there’s no sign of a slowdown as we head into the festive season, and plans highlighted for 2019 indicate a continued ambition for their used car businesses.

“It’s also interesting to note how dealers are looking to invest to support their used car businesses next year. The number of those looking to invest in preparation facilities suggests a rising appetite to accelerate days to sell and manage margin in parallel with increasing stock volumes.

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“But for any serious ambitions of growth to be realised, we need new vehicle sales to return to normal patterns and the dam currently restricting the flow of used stock into the wholesale market breaching. Figures published in recent weeks about the volume of new cars yet to complete their WLTP testing does leave some cause for concern, but I remain confident significant ground will be made on this by the close of the year.”

Manheim is part of Cox Automotive, the world’s largest provider of automotive services to fleets, motor dealers, vehicle manufacturers and traders across cars, motorcycles, plant and commercial vehicles.