Motor Industry News
The early reports for New bike sales in 2013 are showing a decline in the region of 12% up to the end of February. It may be early days and we have had Arctic-like conditions for a few weeks since the start of the year, but many felt that the market may have bottomed out and we could see a minor growth in sales looking forward.
It is a fluctuating picture in terms of trying to give an overview of the market though with stark contrasts between dealers who are guardedly buoyant to those who are totally despondent. All agree that sourcing used stock is getting more difficult. The view is that whilst there are bikes to be bought, they tend towards the higher mileage ‘tatty’ condition or less desirable examples. Good clean prime retail stock with full service history and below average mileage are altogether more difficult to find.
We knew that with the number of bikes that have gone out of the country over the past three or four years that it would come back to bite at some point. The fact that it didn’t really impact upon the market as expected last year was largely due to the online buying sites which provided a profitable source of used bikes. These sites have profited well from owners who have felt the financial squeeze and had bikes sitting in their garage unused. They were willing to sell through the easiest route which gave the quickest supply of cash to pay the bills. Unfortunately in a relatively small marketplace, these sellers are obviously not replacing their bikes and the supply will eventually run out.
To highlight the situation, one dealer explained that he had increased his ticket prices recently, based on the difficulty in sourcing new used stock, only to have to reduce them in order to keep the phones ringing (or to increase their website traffic).
A couple of recent auctions returned some very strange results, Honda held a closed online dealer auction of their press fleet, and reports were that they made way over trade and nearer retail money. At BCA auctions Peterborough last month, a number of BMWs which were offered plus VAT, made normal franchise dealer retail money. These may be isolated cases and may be fuelled by the knowledge that there are still opportunities around the world to export bikes at UK retail figures. This is not a route which is going to keep the market going as a whole though.
As mentioned earlier it is a complex situation at the moment and while it sounds pretty negative, that is not the overall message. It does mean that we have done little with value adjustments for this month. There are opportunities out there but paying too strongly just to have bikes on display, or conversely letting good retail stock go too cheaply is not good business. New bikes sales are being driven solely on price with some strong consumer offers from most manufacturers and the spotlight will undoubtedly remain increasingly on the used sector in order to remain afloat. We all agree that an extended period of good weather once the clocks change this month is ever more critical.
VIPDATA is part of CDL Vehicle Information Services Ltd (CDL VIS) the vehicle data arm of CDL Group Holdings Ltd, based in Stockport, Cheshire. www.cdl.co.uk
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