The BCA Europe Used Car Market 2003, produced in association with Sewells Information and Research, owned by Fleet News' parent company Emap Automotive, contains a detailed insight into what motivates used car buyers.
It reveals that the used car remains at the heart of Britain's transport needs, with 79% of buyers using a second-hand car as their principal form of transport. When it comes to buying a used car, 56% trust their own experience above all else, while only a quarter ask for a test drive.
Very few consider adverts, consumer reports, television car shows, the internet and car magazines as having any relevance to their decision. Nor do used car sites or dealer advice have much influence.
Worryingly for fleet decision-makers taking a long-term look at residual values, most customers say getting the best possible value for money price is their highest priority when choosing a used car. However, bargaining only works to a certain extent, as buyers put 'getting the cheapest price' as their lowest priority.
The hatchback remains the most popular type of car in the UK, favoured by 48% of motorists, followed by saloons, with a 30% share among those interviewed. Estate cars took 7%. Off-road, sports and MPVs each take 4% and prestige cars only take 1%.
Growing demand for diesels in the fleet market is being reflected by growing sales in the used car market.
Of the 2,900 people questioned for the survey, 19% had bought a diesel-engined car, up from 15% a year ago. Of those who are planning to buy a used car, 20% said they would opt for a diesel. Most give better fuel consumption as the reason for the purchase, while others quote engine longevity and better reliability.