The Carlover Blog

Helping you find your next used car

VAT Margin Scheme Reinstated For Used Car Dealerships in Northern Ireland

The UK government has confirmed that the VAT Margin Scheme will be reinstated for used car dealerships in Northern Ireland, a move that has been welcomed across the industry.

Yesterday’s announcement comes after an intense lobbying campaign from independent used car dealerships, local MPs, and the NFDA (National Franchised Dealer Association).

Following our significant lobbying efforts, it is extremely positive that the Government has confirmed HMT and HMRC will reinstate a margin scheme which will avoid an immediate price increase for thousands of second-hand vehicles and the resulting detrimental impact on dealerships and consumers in Northern Ireland as well as Great Britain

NFDA chief executive Sue Robinson

VAT margin schemes available to used car traders in Northern Ireland allows them to pay VAT on the profit earned in the sale of a motor vehicle, rather than its entire value. A significant difference ranging between hundreds and thousands of pounds.

Losing this scheme would see profit margins significantly reduced, if not entirely wiped out. The scheme also makes it more affordable for used car buyers, as they pay much less VAT than the 20% imposed on new vehicles.

Without yesterday’s announcement of the reinstatement, the VAT margin scheme would have remained unavailable to traders operating in Northern Ireland who purchase their stock in GB.

Michael Gove MP confirmed yesterday in parliament…

“HMT and HMRC will reinstate a margin scheme to ensure that NI customers need pay no more than those in any other part of the United Kingdom”.

Michael Gove MP

Save Hours Every Week By Automatically Posting Your Vehicles To Facebook

After a huge effort from our team, we’re excited to announce that our latest release containing a suite of automated Facebook publishing features is finally here!

Time is scarce for most independent used car dealers. That’s why we have spent months carefully building a set of features to save you hours every single week by taking care of that manual, repetitive process of posting your vehicles to your Facebook Page.

We have released a number of features that help you automatically post to your page without any extra effort. It really is as easy as flicking a single switch and letting Carlover MyDealer do the rest.

Why not check them out for yourself?

Save Hours Per Week With Automated Posting

The Power of Repeating Posts

Schedule Posts When You’re Not Around

If you would like to discuss how this could save you time through automated Facebook publishing, please feel free to get in touch. We’d be happy to chat.

Spending Too Much Time Posting to Facebook?

Today marks an exciting day for all Carlover MyDealer customers. Our much-anticipated automated social media publisher for Facebook is set to be released on Monday 28th September 2020.

We’ve been working hard building and testing this latest feature based on feedback and steer from you, our customers.

We understand the immense value that a Facebook presence can bring to a used car dealership. We also understand how time-consuming it can be to manage all of your profiles while still running every aspect of your dealership.

This is why we embarked on a journey to build an industry-leading Facebook publishing feature that can truly automate your posts. Carlover MyDealer can drastically reduce the number of manual posts required to manage a successful Facebook Page. The objective; to save you time and allow you to get back to what you do best… selling cars.

It’s part of our DNA to make things simple for our customers. So, as of the 28th September 2020, you can flick a switch, sit back, and enjoy automated vehicle posts directly to your Facebook Page at peak times throughout the day.

In addition to this, you can also automatically update your followers with ‘What we have in stock’ inventory posts. Again, all at the flick of a single switch.

To save you having to manually repost vehicles back onto your Facebook Page time and time again, we’ve introduced features to do this for you. You guessed it, simply flick a switch and it’s done for you. All built into our existing add vehicle pages meaning there is no additional effort or technical know-how required. You can even get creative and send your customers regular ‘repeating posts’ with alternative content such as the services you offer and the competitive finance packages you provide.

This is how our Co-founder John describes this latest release.

We continually invest in our platform, building the features that you want to see. In this release, we’ve created an industry leading automated social media management tool that is going to save you a heap of time and help you post more consistently to your accounts.

John Loughrey, Co-founder

As always, we would love to show you how Carlover MyDealer can help save you time, automate posts and improve your Facebook presence.

If you would like a demo of our software please do get in touch and one of our friendly team will be happy to give you a demo. Or alternatively, check our dedicated dealer website for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you!

While You’re Here

Why not check our article on how to gain Facebook Enquiries with a few simple tips?

Used Car Market: Will it get back to normal?

We are all feeling a bit uncertain at the minute and wondering what the used car market is going to do over the coming weeks and months. I attended a few webinars over the past week and can say the feeling I got from these were positive.

Market Trend in Sale Prices

From the data below you can see the uncertainty directly affecting used car prices caused by Covid-19. Prices across the country went down as dealerships were trying to get rid of stock and were willing to drop their prices to do this. 

From late May with the announcements of dealerships being able to open their doors again and start welcoming customers back these prices have recovered to before the lockdown.

We expect these prices to stay consistent but there may be a slight rise in the coming months due to panic buying of new stock through auction sites and dealerships competing to replenish their stock volumes.

Sales Observation Count

When looking at sales numbers across the board, these were greatly affected by the lockdown since late March. This was due to many dealerships closing their forecourts due to the lockdown restrictions the UK government put in place. 

We do see that this value doesn’t hit zero as many smaller independent dealers and dealerships who have adopted good online sales processes have been able to still sell cars and dealerships who have pivoted to allow for contact-free click and collect or contact-free delivery services have performed well during this time.

As you can see below the market hit 4% of normal sales at its lowest point during lockdown but has been recovering well since this. We are looking at sales being back to 43% of normal at the beginning of June and predict a sharp rise as the dealerships re-open for business.

Average Days to Sell

Average days to sell vehicles has been greatly affected and the length of time vehicles will be sitting on the forecourts will be extended due to lockdown but this will start to come back to normal as sales start to increase again.

Fastest Selling Used Cars

After analysing both our own market data and that from SMMT and Glass there is a clear trend towards buyers looking for higher mileage, less expensive cars. I have included a table below of the fastest-selling cars in the UK right now according to Glass’s and you can take a look at our data on what is selling via Facebook Marketplace here.

* Above table is based on the overall UK market

As you can see lower priced, higher mileage vehicles are generating the fastest sales in the market right now. This may be something you want to consider when restocking over the coming months.

Predicted Used Car Sales for 2020

If you look at the chart below you will see that although lockdown greatly affected the overall number of sales, most of the industry is predicting sales getting back close to normal numbers by the end of 2020 based on there being no second wave of the pandemic. 

This is very promising reading and with auction houses opening again and online auctions getting back to normal over the coming months this trend will continue.


Although the whole industry has been massively impacted and is still in shock from these unprecedented times there is a light at the end of the tunnel. On Carlover and across other platforms we have seen a rise in stock for the first time since the lockdown came into effect. Dealerships are starting to sell more cars and the industry is recovering quickly. 

Dealerships should really be looking at this time as an opportunity to clean out stock of undesirable cars, look at their online presence and make sure that if anything like this happens then they have their business set up to be able to continue via a cohesive digital approach.

If you would like to enhance your digital presence get in touch and we can talk to you about your website, social media, advertising and all other aspects of putting your best foot forward online.

* Charts sourced from market webinar by Glass’s Autovista Group

Sell more cars on Facebook marketplace using these stats

Facebook Marketplace is undoubtably one of the most exciting and fastest growing classifieds in the world (right after our own of course!). It has one of the largest audiences that exists on social media and is a brilliant way to advertise your stock to a mass audience.

So, what vehicles are the most attractive to buyers on Facebook Marketplace? Well, it just so happens that we’ve done the hard work for you with an analysis of the most popular makes, model, price and mileage ranges.

We love to analyse data and understand buyer behavior. Below we’ve summarised a number of categories that have generated the most enquiries during the lockdown period.

top 5 Most Popular manufacturers

RankManufacturer% of Enquiries
As you can see, BMW is clearly leading from the front!

top 10 Most Popular Models

RankManufacturerModel% of Enquiries
3Volkswagen Golf3%
5FordTransit Custom2.6%
The E-Class leads the way with some unexpected appearences from the commercial players.

Most Popular Price Ranges

RankPrice Range% of Enquiries
1£5k – £7.5k21.2%
2£10k – £15k18.6%
3£7.5k – £10k15.2%
4£2k – £3k9.5%
5£4k – £5k8.4%
6£3k – £4k8.1%
7£15k – £20k6.9%
8£1k – £2k5.6%
9£20k +5.1%
10£0 -£1k1.4%
The most attractive price on Marketplace are vehicles priced between £5k and £7.5k.

Most Popular mileage ranges

RankPrice Range% of Enquiries
1100k +35.7%
275k – 100k25.1%
350k – 75k22.4%
425k – 50k11%
50 – 25k5.9%
As you can see, higher mileage vehicles outperform their lower mileage counterparts.

If you’d like to advertise your stock on Facebook Marketplace, get in touch. Carlover is a Facebook Marketplace Automotive Listing Partner. That means we can automatically publish your stock to Marketplace using our brilliant stock publishing platform.

Check our video tutorial on how easy it is to publish to Facebook Marketplace using our stock publishing app, MyDealer.

Carlover is Growing!

Carlover is growing

Today I wanted to give you an update on our progress and growth here at Carlover.

As you will know, starting a business at the best of times is a challenging experience. Combined with the huge uncertainly that COVID-19 has brought upon the world has made this journey more difficult.

That said, we’ve persevered and managed to not only sustain our business but actually grow it. This success is down to the incredible team we have here and our customers desire for a much-needed change. Our teams’ long hours and dedication to providing you with a service you deserve is unrivaled.

We channel this passion into our products every day to solve actual problems and create new opportunities for you to connect with new customers and sell more cars. We’ve got some huge developments on the horizon that we’re excited to be sharing with our customers very soon!

Our Advertising Platform

Our advertising platform continues to grow showing month on month increases. We have now surpassed and secured over 3 million vehicle views and over 4,000 enquiries for our customers.

Stock levels are growing and we’re approaching the same levels that Auto Trader has in Northern Ireland. And as you can imagine, we’re very happy about this! Our ambition is to overtake Auto Trader in terms of stock levels by September of this year.

MyDealer Stock Publisher

MyDealer, our incredible stock publishing platform has, and is continuing to evolve to help you manage and advertise your stock with less effort. We’re now a Facebook Marketplace Inventory Listing Partner and can automatically advertise your stock to the biggest social media audience in the world.

We have also redeveloped our Facebook Page integration making it even easier to automatically publish your stock to your Page at no additional effort. Easy!

We’re continually adapting and extending MyDealer. Exciting new integrations are in the pipeline and we’ll be letting our customers in on this exciting news very soon.

Even Better Dealer Websites

We believe our dealer websites represent the best value for money in the market. We deliver premium templates with a premium personal service at a fraction of the cost of our nearest competitors. These beautifully designed templates are built to last and work perfectly on mobile to maximise engagement among your own customers.

Many customers have seen this already and jumped on the opportunity to work with us. Especially during COVID-19 where we continue to support our customers with free advertising and websites during this tough time.

Last words

Everything we do, we do for our customers. We want to involve you in defining our roadmap and deciding what we build next. We’d love to talk and hear your feedback and what you want to see come next for Carlover. We’re excited about the future and hope you are too!

Get in touch and we’ll be happy to chat.


We hope you are all continuing to stay safe. This weeks announcement comes from David Henderson on COVID-19, getting back to business again and how we’re continuing to help our customers.

UPDATE: It has now been announced that car dealerships in Northern Ireland can open as of the 8th June 2020. A great milestone for the motor trade here.

Soon to expire driving licenses to be extended

It has been announced that motorists in Northern Ireland whose driving licences are set to expire are set to have an extension for seven months.

The extension applies to those licenses with an expiry date between February and August of this year. Unfortunately, this extension does not apply to taxi drivers as they are not covered by the EU driving licence directive.

It was announced by Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon who said this will come into effect in the coming days under EU rules. The change will be automatic with no action required by the driver.

She said…

“I understand that for many people at this time in particular, having a valid licence allowing them to drive for essential journeys or to ensure they can continue to work, is vital.  

“This new EU Regulation provides a practical solution to a very real problem and ensures that those in this situation can remain on the road without having to worry about getting a renewal application processed, which for some requires a medical assessment. It will also help any customers who could not access or were finding it difficult to renew their licence online. 

“Road safety is my key priority and I would therefore remind all drivers that they have a responsibility to notify the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) if they have a new or worsening medical condition or disability that may affect their ability to drive.”

Stay up to date on all vehicle related matters on this blog and our social media channels.