Wednesday, 1 November 2023, Auto Trader unveiled its latest product, Trended Valuations, designed to help retailers navigate an increasingly nuanced market. This feature will be included in all advertising packages, along with the Retail Check functionality available from April next year through the Auto Trader portal accounts. For those already utilising Auto Trader Connect’s robust suite of API solutions, the seamless integration of data, insights and metrics into their existing systems will be made available. Early access to both Trended Valuations and Retail Check visa portal accounts is set to commence from January 2024, while Auto Trader Connect users can expect access from December this year.

The primary function of this innovative tool is to facilitate confident decision-making. This was developed in response to the complex changes in the industry such as supply dynamics and consumer demand for electric vehicles which created uncertainty for retailers and made pricing strategies harder to manage.

Trended Valuations offer an insightful view of a car’s value over the previous six months, coupled with a forecast of its value for the upcoming six months. This prediction is based on historical valuations, real-time market prices, seasonal trends, and the vehicle’s position within its generation lifecycle. By offering crucial insights into potential profit opportunities, price sensitivity and margin risks, this tool will prove to be invaluable for various retail operations and strategic decision-making.

Commenting on the impact the new product will have on their business, Michael MacDonald, Business Manager at TrustFord Bristol, said: “Trended Valuations will be hugely powerful for managing part-exchanges, especially where new car lead times can mean the transaction is months away. Having an Auto Trader backed valuation forecast will help us manage consumer expectations. It’ll help us manage risk and margin when sourcing with a clear view forward, so we don’t get stuck. I’ll also have a much better view of risk value on how long I keep cars in stock and know what’s going to happen to protect margin.”

Andrew Muffett, Group Used Car Buyer, Allen Motor Group, added: ““I think Trended Valuations is essential, with fluctuating new vehicle lead times we need to be able to give customers an idea of what they can expect for their part exchange when their new car arrives. It also gives valuable insight to your overall stock value as time passes and is a barometer of desirability, stock turn and profitability. As retail and trade markets don’t always move in sync, a point in time trade valuation only tells part of the story when sourcing and puts margin at risk when you hit the retail market. Trended valuations will provide us with a broader view of retail pricing over time, to chart the trajectory of a vehicles past performance and, crucially, where it’s forecast to go.”

Undoubtedly, local market insights play a decisive role in shaping the performance of every vehicle and a comprehensive understanding of a specific market. This underlined the significance of the launch of Trended Valuations, which is accompanied by access to Auto Trader’s upgraded Retail Check functionality. This enhancement empowers retailers to drive performance by leveraging the most extensive and accurate view of the live retail market.

Retailers currently leveraging the comprehensive data and metrics of Retail check, including Auto Tarder’s unique Retail Rating, are now sourcing vehicles with a heightened sense of assurance, armed with deeper market dynamics. They utilise these invaluable insights to refine strategies and capitalise on potential profit opportunities. In addition to monitoring shifts in supply and demand, the tool provides real-time market valuations, conducts competitive analyses of price positions as compared to similar market stock, and estimates the projected speed of vehicle sales at market value pricing.

Notably, this upgraded Retail Check functionality is now extended to commercial vehicles, ensuring that retailers can make informed retail decisions for vans with the same level of confidence as they do for cars. The integration of these advanced insights and metrics represents a significant milestone for Auto Trader Connect.

Commenting, Auto Trader’s Chief Product Officer, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, said: “Providing this powerful new combination of Trended Valuations and enhanced market insights marks another important step in our commitment to empowering our partners with the scale of our data and the power of our technology. Given the growing complexity in today’s market and the rapid pace in which it’s moving, we feel this is one of the most effective ways we can drive confidence among Retailers and help them to navigate it profitably.

“Our Valuations data alone was engaged with over 20 million times in September, which highlights just how vital a role our insights play in key retail decisions. We believe this added layer of intelligence will prove to be a game changer for many Retailers, giving them what they need to adapt to a nuanced market and to identify the most profitable opportunities for their forecourts.”