Sunday 15 September 2019

How hire car sales drive the new and old markets

Drill into statistics when looking for bargains or holding value in your car, writes Campbell Spray

Nissan Qashqai: 38pc of sales go to the hire trade
Nissan Qashqai: 38pc of sales go to the hire trade

Campbell Spray

In many ways, the contest between manufacturers to claim top spots in the car sales indexes can be deadly boring for many people.

But drilling down into the statistics finds some nuggets which have great implications for what people will get for their car when they come to sell it as well as, on the other side, what bargains you might pick up in the second-hand market.

The latest figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that new car registrations for April were up 10.8pc (8,923) when compared to April 2018 (8,053), while new car registrations for the year to date remain at 8.5pc (73,044) - down on the same period last year (79,813).

However, the increase in April car sales was down to a massive rise in those sold for the hire trade. The hire car total in April this year was 2,728 compared to 1,737 in 2018 - an increase of 57.1pc.

When you get to the individual marques and their top sellers, it gets even more interesting.

The biggest seller so far this year is the Nissan Qashqai with 2,789 units sold in the first four months. However, 38pc of these cars (1,048) were sold to the car hire trade, while only 1,741 went to ordinary buyers. In second place was the Hyundai Tucson with a total of 2,622 sales, but only 341 cars (13pc) went for hiring and 2,281 (87pc) were purchased by ordinary buyers.

And it gets more extreme with other marques. Almost eschewing the hire trade is Ford, which only sells 5pc of its models there. Down in sixth place is the Focus, but 99pc of its 1,939 sales went to retail, with only eight cars sold to the hire trade.

With the exception of Ford, most of the top 10 brands have between 11 and 19pc of their sales going in the hire direction. However, both Nissan and especially Renault stand out with respectively 30pc and 43pc of all their cars sold for the hire trade.

That means that after a year or so doing massive mileage on hire, these cars will be off-loaded into the second-hand market, which will greatly influence what price the average Joe Soap will get when they come to trade in their Qashqai or Clio.

On the converse, you can pick up these ex-hire cars relatively cheaply. I see many of them in the Hertz retail site on Dublin's North Circular Road. Some are ridiculously cheap, however they have done a lot of travelling and the specs are usually at the bottom of the range.

Sunday Independent

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