Fleet News

Used car market demonstrates resilience in choppy economic waters

The used car market weathered the continuing economic storm to increase in both volume and value last year, according to the newly published 2012 Used Car Market Report from BCA. However, reflecting the economic backdrop, growth was slower last year and average values remained relatively flat.

The report, authored by Professor Peter Cooke from Buckingham University Centre for Automotive Management, suggests there will be changes ahead as the used car market deals with the effects of the second recession in four years.

Bespoke consumer research commissioned by BCA also shows how motorists are changing their buying habits as they deal with the continuing economic pressures.

According to the 2012 BCA Used Car Market Report, 6.7 million used cars were sold last year for a combined value of £35.7 billion – the highest value ever recorded. Average car values remained flat at £5,336.

The record value was achieved against the background of a struggling economy, falling family incomes, high unemployment and stubbornly high inflation. More used car buyers were forced to turn to older used cars as supply issues continued to affect the wider used car market.

Sales of cars aged five years and under slipped back by 183,000 units last year.

Dealers dominate in sales of these younger cars, but as supplies are under pressure they are increasingly focusing on cars aged six to eight years.

Sales of cars aged over nine years continued to rise, by 177,000 to over 2.5 million units representing 37.8% of the totals with private-to-private sales dominating in this sector.

Tony Gannon, BCA communications director, said: “The used car sector is now experiencing the full effect of the lower new car sales since the onset of the recession in 2008 and this is changing the dynamics of the marketplace.

“The diminishing supply of quality cars under five years old means used car retailers are having to extend their focus to include vehicles in the 6-8 year age group, where there is a stronger supply as a result of the higher new car volumes in the early 2000s. In fact, dealer sales of cars aged 6-8 years rose by 63,000 units to 1.1 million last year.”

He added: “There are also many more older cars on Britain’s roads than at any time in recent history and these cars are being kept longer before being scrapped.

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