No 4×4 winter spike in demand, says Glass's

Car dealers hoping to benefit from the usual winter increase in value of 4x4 vehicles may be disappointed this year, thanks to the continued unseasonably warm weather.

According to Glass’s, this year and the previous few mild winters has resulted in a fall-off in demand for off-road vehicles. The tough snowy winters of five and six years ago led to a clamour for 4x4s from customers but it says the trend is over for the moment.

Reacting to market demands is vital for a dealership to meet customer expectations and maximise profits. It’s important to have a motor trade insurance policy that adequately covers the type of vehicles you stock, whether you specialise or have a wide selection in the showroom.

Glass’s said that the previous demand for 4x4s set a pattern among the dealers to bring in additional off-roaders for winter, but in many cases they were left with the vehicles still on their books.

Head of valuations, Rupert Pontin, said: This left a lot of dealers going into spring carrying an excess of 4x4 stock, which they had to trade out of at a loss.

"Dealers have a long memory for this kind of error, so are now extremely cautious about the numbers of 4x4s that they buy over winter, especially if the season remains relatively mild."

He said that buyers also now see a 4x4 as a year-round vehicle, not something they will particularly look for over the winter months. As a result, there is a more consistent demand for the car as a family vehicle throughout the year.

Mr Pontin said he only expected the pattern to alter if there is sudden heavy snowfall, which currently is not forecast.

He added: "If this took place, dealers could very well find themselves with too little 4x4 stock, leading to a buying frenzy and a subsequent spike in values but there is no sign of that happening so far this winter."