Confused by used car prices? You’re not alone

It’s hardly surprising that car buyers are struggling to get an accurate price for their trade in, the market moves rapidly and today’s hero car is potentially tomorrow’s betamax.

The trade guides rarely find common ground on the values of many cars and many professional buyers use their own skill and experience to value cars without necessarily referring to the guides.

In fact there is so much information available that it could possibly be having a counter effect. Depending on where particular models are being sourced usually dictates the price on the wholesale market.

For example; if a buyer enters a showroom with his privately owned, one owner 5 door hatch which also happens to be a popular rental example and the particular dealer has a selection of similar vehicles which are indeed ex-rental cars, is there a price lift because the pedigree is different?

Well to many dealers there maybe but there is nowhere near the stigma there used to be around ex -rental cars and therefore the price offered for a non-rental car maybe no different and in fact a dealer may want to price it for less knowing he has access to several of the same cars at any given time at lower prices.

Basically this means that the customer is at the mercy of the particular showroom he happens to be in and therefore doing research first will at least give the buyer certain guiding principles to work with, which means not going in cold.

The one solid fact which has all dealers across the board in agreement is the “sure thing”. The “sure thing” is a car with its own unique selling proposition, the low mileage, lovely colour with all the toys version which can be priced totally individually and which will ensure that the price paid by everyone will be high.

These are probably the only cars where the high price paid at auctions can be transferred to the retail customer. The more run of the mill examples may still attract a high trade price but any profit is subsequently eroded by the wide choice and the inevitability of dealers competing in the same market who cannot help but try and undercut each other on price.

This scenario is obviously a bonus for the retail buyer but does create confusion as the swing in price band across certain models can be thousands of pounds.

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