Fleet News

Used car sales hit record high of £45.1bn last year, BCA research finds


The value of used car sales in 2014 reached £45.1 billion – a year-on-year increase of 5.6% and an all-time high, reports the BCA Used Car Market Report.

According to the 25th edition of the report, published in association with the Centre for Automotive Management, University of Buckingham, the collective value of the UK new and used car markets leapt to £88.5bn in 2014; up from £79.4bn in 2013, with used vehicles accounting for 51% of the total market value.

A total of 7.2 million used cars were sold last year as the market maintained a strong performance in the post recessionary period.  Alongside the 2.5m new car sales figures reported by the SMMT, this resulted in a ratio of 2.9 used cars sold to every one new car.

The report also shows how the mix of used cars is starting to change. Average age rose to 7.8 years in 2014, meaning the average car is now one year older than it was a decade earlier.

The report suggested continuing strong new car sales will result in average age declining and predicts a small fall by the end of 2016.

Car ownership is also on the rise, from a five-year low of 69% of households in 2014 to 75% in 2015.

It found 12% of motorists are likely to buy a car in the next 12 months – of those, almost three-quarters (72%) said they would buy a used car in 2015.

Hatchbacks remained the most popular model among used car buyers – increasing 7% year-on-year to a total used car market share of 51%.

Diesels accounted for 36% of those bought by respondents which represented a fall of one percentage point compared to the previous year.

Price (41%) remains the single biggest influence when choosing a particular used car, followed by mileage (32%) and the make/model of the vehicle (31%). 

However, the importance of make/model rises the more is spent on the car, with 58% of motorists who spent £10,000 or more saying it was important, rising to 65% for those who spent in excess of £20,000.

In contrast, just 15% of buyers spending less than £1,000 were concerned about the make/model of the car they bought.

The number of respondents who said they would certainly or were likely to buy a car in the next 12 months was down in this year’s survey at a collective 12%, compared to 14% last year.

However, younger buyers said they were more likely to buy this year, with 18% of 17 to 24-year-olds likely to buy.


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