Traders within the stretched limousine market have reported a sales boom as operators discover the benefits of buying pre-owned vehicles.
Although experts have told us that the country is starting to recover from the so-called recession, the used market seems to be thriving following the collapse of many businesses and finance being difficult to get.
Unfortunately the last few months have claimed many victims within the limousine sector, many have either found it too difficult to secure new business or simply cannot replace or purchase new stock, as finance companies turn their backs on the industry.
For many, the answer is to start looking at pre-owned vehicles from recognised dealers in the UK, as these could be sold for around 50% less than a new limousine and the latest models such as the newer shape Lincoln Town Car, Hummer H3 and Chrysler 300’s have now appeared within the used market.
A UK based limousine trader is experiencing first-hand the boom in used stock as only three in ten vehicles it sells are brand new. Krystal UK based in Heathfield, East Sussex believes the market now has returned to how it was fifteen years ago.
Managing Director Nick Clarke told thechauffeur.com; “As soon as the recession hit we took the decision to adopt a key business strategy of actively sourcing suitable used Krystal Chryslers and Town Cars and this has proved very successful for us through this time.
He added; “As many operators closed their businesses during the recession, it has affected the Limousine Rental market in two ways; many of the older limousines and larger ‘non approved’ Limousines have found their way into Europe, prices for these are probably at an all time low and are likely to drop further. European Dealers are now having problems disposing of these vehicles as their markets dry up. There are fewer ‘less desirable’ Limousines being offered in the UK rental sector and this has resulted in less discounting and higher than forecasted rental incomes.”
So, it would be easy to think this is good news all round, as the limo dealers are generating good sales, and the operator is able to purchase a good vehicle at a good price. However, some operators simply do not opt for the cheaper pre-owned limousine option, and continue to try and make their companies stand out from the others buy only operating unique vehicles.
Saj Ali from Midlands Limos told us; “Buying a used limousine would probably equate to the age old saying ‘shooting yourself in the foot’. These limousines would not help achieve a competitive edge over other major limousine companies, thus wasting money and not gaining a competitive edge.
He continued; “It’s about being different and for this reason buying something new and different is what any sane limousine company owner would do. Buying a used limousine would mean having something on the fleet that people have already seen, there’s no point and no one out there will be talking about your company.”
However, what about the businesses who don’t want to replace their vehicles and are happy with what they have? All the time the finance companies are holding onto their cash forcing operators to hang on to their older vehicles it could have a major knock on affect in the future when it comes to buying a used limousines – stocks could simply dry up.
Many believe that if this is the case, then it will only be a few years down the line until the industry will be forced to only buy brand-new limousines which comply to new legislations that are introduced between now and then.