New car sales are still seeing growth in the market – although dealers are increasingly offering discounted competitive incentives.
In the used car market, however, there is still growth for some sectors and models, yet other vehicles are faring less well as 2008 is seeing households cutting back on spending, as they budget to afford council tax, utility bills and mortgage renegotiations.
Kirk Fletcher, managing director of Experian’s automotive division, said: "A slow housing market and the squeeze on spending have left consumer confidence low and this, in turn, hit the used car sector hard last year.
"Used car dealers are having to work harder to attract customers who are seeing the value of buying a new car over a used one. The recent media attention on high CO2 emissions and the imminent increases in the costs of running a car mean that it is highly likely consumers will continue to spend cautiously. The feedback from used car dealers is that there will be opportunities to do better, but this will only be achieved if they are more prepared and on the ball."
For people planning to exchange their vehicle, MPVs such as the Renault Scenic are holding their value – especially as they get over three years old, and SUVs like the Toyota Rav in the five to seven year old bracket are showing steady sales.
Sport models, such as the Toyota Celica, aged around six or seven years old are still proving good sellers.