It expresses concern over the increasing numbers of cars with finance outstanding that are being put up for sale and warns potential buyers to be extremely cautious.
The “very significant jumps” seem to suggest a substantial number of people are struggling to meet repayments.
But the report, by vehicle data expert Cartell.ie, also says the figures are “probably” being inflated by people who are testing the market to see if they can get a better-price offer than the Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (GMFV) they’ve agreed on their existing PCP deal.
The more they can get over and above their current GMFV, the more cash/equity they will have to put towards a deposit for their next PCP. But they are legally obliged to meet repayments, pay the outstanding sum owed on the car – the GMFV – and clear the way with their dealer/institution before selling the vehicle.
The increased volume of ‘for sales’ coincides with thousands of PCP deals coming to an end this year.
The Cartell.ie study, published today, says the “really concerning” factor is that you run a 33pc chance of buying a one to three-year-old car that could be seized by a financial institution due to outstanding repayments. If you buy a car with a substantial amount still owed, the lender can legally take away the vehicle – leaving you at a total loss.
The high level of activity on the PCP/finance front also comes as the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) begins its investigation into how Personal Contract Plans are working and being worked.
CCPC experts are sure to study this latest report as it provides insight into current levels of financing in the market.
Cartell.ie found that the proportion of cars – of all ages – being offered for sale with finance outstanding is now 12.5pc.
That is up from 11.5pc in January but significantly ahead of the 9.5pc figure for June 2016.
The report is based on the profile of 5,906 vehicles offered for sale and checked via the Cartell.ie website so far this year. The study says: “More than one-third of vehicles registered in the last three years are offered for sale with finance outstanding.”
According to John Byrne of Cartell.ie: “There is now almost a two-in-five chance of a one-year-old vehicle being offered for sale with finance outstanding.”
For two-year-olds (2015 reg) the risk is 32.64pc, while buyers have a one-in-three chance (up from 26.8pc) of purchasing a three-year-old (2014 reg) with finance outstanding.
The study found that 8.97pc of all 2010-reg cars offered for sale had repayments still owed.
Mr Byrne confirms that the level of indebtedness on three-year-olds can be partially explained by PCP motorists testing the market.
But he stresses the “really concerning” element is that 34pc of all vehicles registered in the last three years are being offered for sale with finance outstanding.
He describes the past year’s increases as “very significant jumps” and advises buyers to check for finance owed.