According to exclusive research by car information experts CAP, the majority of independent used car retailers are low on stock and struggling to replace sold cars, meaning that part-ex values are set to remain buoyant.

This issue is revealed by research for CAP Black Book Live, the only real-time used car price trending tool in the UK. The company state that motorists with good cars to part-exchange will get top prices from independent dealers, who are just as determined to buy retail-quality stock as they are to sell the cars already on the forecourt.

More than 100 independent dealers were asked to describe their current stock levels and whether they were having difficulty sourcing the right cars to satisfy demand. The results overwhelmingly demonstrated that independents have been struggling to keep up with demand for retail stock.

But the significance for motorists – who often suspect they won’t be offered the best price for their own car by dealers – is that they will benefit from greater demand in the trade for part-exchanges than ever before. Of 103 dealers who were asked ‘are you experiencing any difficulty sourcing the right cars’, 70% said they were. The problem was even more vividly highlighted in their responses when asked to describe their current levels of stock, with more than 78% reporting them as ‘too low’.

It’s a far cry from the used car market of just a few years ago, when over-supply drove part-exchange values down, leaving motorists routinely disappointed at the prices they were offered by dealers. Nor is the problem likely to ease any time soon, with 89% of CAP’s dealer panel anticipating no let-up in demand for used cars over the coming months.

Mike Hind, of CAP, said: “Motorists who assume they will automatically do better by selling their car privately are behind the times. For independent used car specialists doing their best to keep up with demand, a good part-exchange is like gold dust in today’s market. If they know they can generate another profitable future sale from your part-exchange, you can expect to be pleasantly surprised by how favourably a good independent used car specialist stacks the deal.”

Each month CAP questions a ‘Dealer Insight Panel’ of more than 100 independent used car dealers. The results give a unique insight into the dynamics of the ‘true’ used car retail and trade marketplaces. This information assists CAP in its day to day research and is published on the CAP website at for the benefit of customers who wish to conduct peer comparisons with their own business performance.