REPORTAGE.  Automobile: in car dealerships, the galley of second-hand hunters

REPORTAGE. Automobile: in car dealerships, the galley of second-hand hunters

the essential
Brand dealers or second-hand specialists, automotive professionals are noticing the fever for second-hand vehicles. Purchase prices rose “up to 25%” more. An increase that affects resellers and customers who pay the bill. Report on car dealers in Occitania.

Route de Labège, south of Toulouse, a sign draws attention at a red light: “Buy all kinds of vehicles in the state”, offers an anonymous person. “That sums up the demand for second-hand at all costs,” smiles a stopped driver. “Surprised to see that, even here.” Because here is the meeting place of Toulouse for the automobile: about fifteen brands follow one another on this avenue for hundreds of vehicles for sale. Abundance, a priori?

Well, no… “We all have many requests and prices have gone up too much, between 15 and 25% depending on the make and model. I bought the car at the price I sold it for last year. We lack offer on the used vehicle, the second-hand vehicle, because there are no new ones”, also comments a second-hand professional.

The high is spectacular

Factories closed by covid then shortages of semiconductors have made production and delivery difficult… “Where I bought 100 new cars, they gave me 30,” says Benjamin Debard, commercial director in Toulouse of the Debard Automobiles group, offering more than 40 brands in all France. In doing so, VO’s run is spectacular, he confirms. “In 2019, the new ones were 70% of our activity, the used vehicles, 30%. In 2022, the new ones were 30%, the used vehicles, 70%”.

Emblematic, a Peugeot 2 0081.5 Blue HDI 110 CV from March 2021 with 29,677 km, is at €23,990, almost close to the factory outlet price. “Instead of waiting for something new, people prefer a more expensive recent second-hand item, immediately available”, emphasizes Benjamin Debard, like all his colleagues. “But we don’t earn more. The fewer cars there are for sale, the more expensive they are for us too,” he says.

inventory drying

Beyond individuals, rental companies and companies have also used the opportunity of their parks, restricting supply, the profession points out. Which is concerned about the depletion of stocks, “even third-hand vehicles. »

“Generally it is the car that will be the first after the license, or the work car, the second car of the couple”, summarizes Stéphane Meillon who, in parallel to his mechanical workshop in Labège, sells “about 200 VO annually”. In his parking lot, Jean-Luc looks for his daughter, “but I’ll give myself time,” he warns. “A year ago my first prize was €3,500, we couldn’t find more. Today I am at 5,000 / 5,500 — confesses Stéphane, “but I don’t gain more margin”, he also says. Example ? This Clio from August 2020 at €13,900. “I have already paid €1,200 more than it was worth for it and to prepare it I have more expenses, because the owners, adjusted, save more and more on maintenance.”

“Because what is rarer is more expensive, the negotiation becomes more complicated with private individuals in acquisitions,” says Philippe Biasini, general director of sales at SNDiffusion, in Albi. “Gasoline”, “diesel” or “hybrid”, French, German or another… What sells better? “What we have”, jokes Didier Sirgue, at the head of this other regional “heavyweight” of new and second-hand goods. “No cars, nowhere in Europe or anywhere else,” he notes.

Loyal customer who buys her “sixth car here”, Marie-Angélique leaves with a Mégane at 24,000 km. Caregiver, she travels 90 km daily to work. “The old one was a Golf, but to get one again, you would have had to break the bank. So we chose according to our budget, low mileage and diesel.” “We sell a price or a term in all cases at a good price”, points out Didier Sirgue.

Available and sustainable

“The customer wants an available vehicle. But he also wants sustainability. Even if a Zoé leaves for the week, many are also backing away from the occasion waiting to have some perspective on electrics”, analyzes Tony Paulin, head of sales for used vehicles at Renault in Tarbes. The Dacia, Duster and Sandero cardboard?, he confirms. But what he also points out, “is that in the rural sector, we buy diesel as long as it is still possible.” And if you don’t buy… “The rental with option to purchase, LOA, also explodes, because there is no concern of reselling”, the professionals agree.

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