Our forecast for the year ahead is sustained growth in vehicle volumes for cars and LCVs. For fleets, we also expect to see a continuation in the move to greener low CO2 vehicles. In part, this is about running costs but the increasing role of 'good citizenship' cannot be understated.

The most significant change will be increasing supply into the remarketing cycle. This is likely to have an impact upon values. In this respect de-fleet vehicle condition will be an important factor.

Clearly the May General Election will create some issues, but with an Autumn Statement that offers a largely business friendly economic outlook, we expect the political and economic outlook to be largely neutral. Even the rapidly falling price of oil is not something we see causing any significant shift. When it comes to buyers the appetite for quality stock and the increased availability of stock funding is something we see as being largely in synch, but improving and sustained de-fleet supply could have price implications.

For buyers the challenge will largely be a regulatory one. We expect this to be particularly true for used cars. FCA regulation may create pressure to increase used retail prices as the opportunities for earning F & I commission come under pressure. The 'tipping point' is likely to be dealers capacity to improve finance penetration and so earn 'a little from a lot'.

Another area of impact will be digitisation and outsourcing.

A key trend through 2014 has been an improvement in the management of fleets. This is having a marked influence on the de-fleet process. Key elements of improvement are:

  • Telematics - has improved the control and management of fleets. The detailed analytics have helped to improve the quality of the fleet and drivers! In addition to the daily benefits on running costs and productivity, telematics is also facilitating the change cycle, bringing product to market at an optimum time.
  • Outsourcing - Linked to telematics, specialist remarketing experts such as SMA are integrating our expertise vertically within fleet management. From the management of road fund licensing and key management to proactive vehicle inspections and new vehicle handovers, we can help fleets to identify the 'sweet spot' for de-fleeting.

Our own outlook is a positive one. As the third largest remarketing business we have to work harder and we do. We make it very personal and we are very nimble reacting to customer feedback. The impact is a new product development process that is industry leading. For 2015, we expect to see further positive growth and we are determined to earn it.

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Our grading system is changing

NAMA grading has been developed to provide a long awaited industry standard grading scheme to be used across all auctions within the UK.

We have now introduced NAMA grading across our sites, and over the coming weeks you will notice more vehicles being offered for sale displaying a NAMA grade. These grades are easy to identify as they are 1,2,3,4,5 and U in place of the SMA grades A,B,C,D and E.

Please make sure you have familiarised yourself with the grades. We will still produce condition reports providing additional information for each vehicle as we always have.