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Interview

Monaco Luxury Group: How is the second-hand market faring?

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The group has given over an entire showroom to second-hand vehicles, in the Fontvieille district. © Monaco Occasions

The group has devoted an entire showroom to second-hand vehicles, in the Fontvieille district, in addition to its eight new-vehicle dealerships in the Principality. 

Mercedes, Ferrari, Bentley, McLaren… Monaco Luxury launched its first dealership in the Principality in 1959. For several decades, Mercedes-Benz was the Group’s only make. In 2000, big changes were announced and, in addition to opening dealerships for the brands mentioned above, Monaco Luxury turned its attention to the second-hand market, which until then had been virtually non-existent in the Principality.

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In the early 2000s, we wanted to get into the market so we could handle trade-ins for our different makes. It was purely for our group’s own used vehicles,” says Philippe Guillet, the group’s current head of used vehicles. The Fontvieille showroom came into being and is still the only one in the Principality that deals solely in second-hand vehicles.

The Monaco Luxury Group second-hand vehicle showroom, in Fontvieille. © Monaco Luxury Group

Vehicles from €15,000 to €200,000

From a Smart up to a Bentley, there are more than 200 vehicles on display. Philippe Guillet makes no secret of the fact that “there is only a small difference in price between our used and new vehicles.” And with good reason, as these second-hand cars are rarely more than two years old. “For customers, second-hand means a quicker purchase. It means they don’t need to wait for the makers’ models to come out,” he says.

Ranging from €15,000 to €200,000, there is not a significant price difference compared to the new models sold by MLG. Which can also be to the group’s advantage. “It also means that we can sometimes steer the customer towards a new vehicle, as the price difference is not substantial.” It is a buoyant market for the group, which can sometimes sell more used vehicles than new in the course of a year. For the second-hand vehicles, the average transaction is still in the region of “€80,000.”

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600 vehicles sold each year

That’s roughly a new vehicle for every second-hand vehicle sold,” says Philippe Guillet, who estimates a very good year for the group at “700, 750 cars sold” on the second-hand market alone. “Monaco is a cosmopolitan place; people come to work for a few years and then sell their vehicles.” Monaco Luxury’s second-hand branch handles trade-ins from its own dealerships, as well as a large proportion from private customers.

The Group was also one of the few in the car market to come through the health crisis unscathed. “Some new vehicles took several months or years to arrive back then… Second-hand cars grew in popularity, and we made sales volumes that we weren’t used to seeing,” says Philippe Guillet. While the Monegasque market is very healthy today, the manager admits that it all started “seven or eight years ago.

A local clientele

70% of our used vehicles are sold to Monegasque customers, and 25% to a French clientele,” says Philippe Guillet. The manager explains our French neighbours’ interest in the Monegasque used-car market by the fact that “the French market is blocked” and that there is no “CO2 tax” or ecological penalty on polluting vehicles, unlike in France.

The advantage of Monaco is that people here might only put 5,000 km on the clock every year. Used cars that have already been on the road are therefore still very attractive,” adds Philippe Guillet. In his view, the Principality’s attractiveness also plays a role: “being able to say ‘I bought my car in Monaco’ is a plus for some people.”

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As for the second-hand market, “we still have a few good years ahead of us,” says Philippe Guillet. In France, the market is struggling to return to pre-Covid levels, even though 2.6 used cars were sold for every new one in September 2023. Sales are down 11.9% compared with September 2019, according to the Autoscout24 barometer.

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