Surge in supply softens used EV prices but wider market starts new year fully charged
The current average value of a used car is up 2.8% year-on-year and 0.3% month-on-month.
According to the latest data from Auto Trader, 2023 has got off to a confident start, with both retail prices and consumer demand recording a strong performance in the first few weeks of the year. Auto Trader’s Retail Price Index, which is based on daily pricing analysis of circa 900,000 vehicles across the market, shows the current average price of a used car is £18,268, which is the highest value the Index has recorded since its launch in January 2011.
It marks a 2.8% year-on-year (YoY) increase on a like-for-like basis, and although the rate of growth is down significantly from a peak of 32% YoY recorded in April 2022, this current rate is on top of the massive 31.3% YoY increase seen in January 2022. It also marks a month-on-month (MoM) increase of 0.3%, the first positive MoM growth since October. Whilst it follows the seasonal trend of the market picking back up following the festive period, current growth is also ahead of typical pre-pandemic patterns.[i]
Prices have remained stable due to the ongoing demand and supply dynamics in the market. Although demand has softened against previous highs, overall levels remain robust, which is reflected in the level of consumer engagement on Auto Trader. Visits to the marketplace are up 14% on January 2022 - the third month of consecutive YoY growth. Coupled with continued constraints in supply, this robust demand is contributing to the stability in used car values and is likely to do so for some time to come.
After a stable December, our data shows that the market entered 2023 with some real momentum behind it. Prices are stable, demand is robust, and the feedback we’ve been receiving from many of our retailer partners in the last few weeks supports our cautiously confident outlook for the market this year.
Data & Insight DirectorCONNECT
EV prices soften as stock surges but many models are outperforming market
Whilst this positive trend in price growth has been seen across the retail market, the widely reported exception is electric vehicles (EVs), which at a high-level have been impacted by contrasting market dynamics: the rate of growth in supply has accelerated past the growth in demand.
As energy prices began to surge, and the price of petrol and diesel returns closer to ‘normal’ levels, the proportion of used EV advert views on Auto Trader has softened, easing from a share of 6% of all used car advert views in June 2022, to 4% in January. Over the same period, used EV supply in the market has rocketed, surging from just 2% of all used cars advertised on Auto Trader in June, to over 6% in January.
As a result of these dynamics, used EV retail prices have begun to fall. In fact, the current average value of a second-hand EV across the whole retail market (£36,445) is down -0.8% YoY, and -0.9% on December, which marks five consecutive months of MoM decline. In contrast, average prices of used petrol and diesel cars are up 0.6% (£16,666) and 0.5% (£16,723) respectively. We can see what impact these market dynamics have had on specific models, including the Tesla Model 3, which in Q4 of 2022, saw the level of available stock on Auto Trader increase 208% YoY – over the same period, the average advertised price on the marketplace has fallen circa £5,000[ii].
However, the huge scale of Auto Trader’s data, which includes the largest view of EVs across the retail sector, reveals how nuanced the immature electric market is. It also highlights how the negative price adjustment of over-supplied premium models are distorting the overall picture of EV market health. Indeed, a look under the bonnet reveals there are plenty of models and derivatives that are not only outperforming other EVs, but also their fossil fuelled counterparts. For example, whilst the likes of the Tesla Model S[iii] and the Audi e-tron[iv] recorded a respective MoM decline of -3.1% and -2.6% between December and January, the Peugeot e-2008[v] and the Citroen e-C4[vi] rose 11% and 7.7%.
A further indicator of market health is the speed in which used cars leave retailers’ forecourts. Auto Trader’s data shows that it took an average of 40 days for a used EV to sell in December, versus 35 days for petrol cars and 34 days for diesel. However, the MG ZS took an average of 31 days to sell in December, and the MGS took just 29 days.
The impact of the Tesla price drop
The immediacy of Auto Trader’s data reveals what impact Tesla’s new car price cut has had on used values, with the price of a one-year-old Standard Range model falling circa £1,400 overnight[vii] on its marketplace. The news of Tesla’s new car price drop fuelled a huge spike in consumer engagement on Auto Trader, with the volume of Tesla advert views spiking 76% on its platform, whilst Model 3 page views rocketed 113%[viii].
Walker added: “We have the broadest single view of EVs, and as our data highlights, the market is incredibly nuanced, and so a broad-brush rarely reflects the true picture. Retailers need to resist thinking all EV’s are in decline, as the data simply doesn’t support that. Those models that are seeing levels of supply grow at a faster rate than demand are experiencing a price adjustment, but there’s plenty of models where demand is as strong, if not stronger than supply, and as a result are selling quickly and offering great profit potential. With the EV market still maturing, its critical to follow the live retail data – to ensure you’re buying the right car for your market at the right price, selling them at the right price, and securing the best possible margin in the process.”
[i] An average 0.2% MoM growth was recorded in January between 2011 – 2019.
[ii] Between September 2022 to December 2022, the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus Auto 4dr fell from, £44,995 to £39,999; the Long Range Auto 4WDE 4Dr £50,049 - £45,750; the Performance Auto 4WDE 4dr (Performance Upgrade) £56,000 - £51,900
[iii] Tesla Model S, Long Range, 1-3 Years c. £71,200
[iv] Audi e-tron, Black Edition, 1-3 Years c. £63,400
[v] Peugeot e-2008, Allure Premium, 1-3 Years c. £29,50
[vi] Citroen e-C4, Shine, 1-3 Years c. £27,800
[vii] Falling from an average of £38,994 on the 15th January to £37,599 on the 16th.
[viii] Between 12th January and the 14th January 2022
About the Retail Price Index
The Auto Trader Retail Price Index (RPI) is published monthly and provides an overview of the latest price and search data from our marketplace. Our team of data scientists monitor circa 900,000 vehicles each day, including 116,000 vehicle updates and an average of 39,000 vehicles added or removed from Auto Trader. Coupled with data from circa 450,000 trade car listings every day, as well as additional retailer forecourts and website data (OEM, fleet and leasing disposal prices and pricing data from over 3,000 car dealership websites and data from major auction houses across the UK), ensuring the Index is an accurate reflection of the live retail market. Accordingly, as of January 2023 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will use this data to feed its measures of inflation, including the Consumer Prices Index.
About Auto Trader
Auto Trader Group plc is the UK and Ireland's largest digital automotive marketplace. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 100 Index.
The marketplace sits at the heart of the vehicle buying and selling journeys, with the largest number of car buyers and the largest choice of trusted stock. Auto Trader exists to Drive Change Together. Responsibly. It aims to grow both its car buying audience and core advertising business and is focused on changing how the UK shops for cars by providing the best online car buying experience, enabling all retailers to sell online. It aims to build stronger partnerships with its customers, use its voice and influence to drive more environmentally friendly vehicle choices and create a diverse business and inclusive culture.
Auto Trader publishes a monthly used car Retail Price Index which is based on daily pricing analysis of circa 900,000 vehicles, this data is used by the Bank of England and ONS to feed the broader UK economic indicators such as inflation and the CPI.
For more information, please visit https://plc.autotrader.co.uk/
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