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09 November 21 Press releases

Used car transactions | Q3 2021


Auto Trader's Commercial Director, Ian Plummer, offers his view on the latest used car sales data from the SMMT

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director of Auto Trader, the UK’s largest automotive marketplace, said:

“The well-publicised supply issues that have affected new car sales are starting to be felt in the used car market. Whilst we continue to see huge levels of consumer demand, as evident in the over 200 million visits to our marketplace in Q3 - a 32% increase on the same period two years ago - the lack of stock availability is beginning to impact sales volumes and undermining the potential opportunities these high demand levels should offer. From what we’re tracking in the market, supply was down around -12% in Q3, when compared with 2019.

“As a result of these supply constraints, coupled with the exceptionally strong demand, used car pricing continues its upward trajectory. In fact, October marked the 19th consecutive month of growth, with prices increasing a record 25.6% year-on-year. Astonishingly, nearly one in four of the nearly new cars available in the market (those aged up to 12 months) are currently more expensive than their brand-new equivalents. And further highlighting just how much demand there is in the market, in Q3 the average used car sold nearly 14% faster than it did in 2019 (25 days vs. 29).  

“It is good to see sales of used electric vehicles powering ahead, but we should not be fooled. Based on what we’re tracking, we estimate there to be around 317,000 electric vehicles in the UK’s car parc, which equates to just about 1 per cent of the total. Other European markets are making a much better fist of driving mass adoption with a smarter approach to incentives and more comprehensive set of enabling policies.

“As for the health of the market overall, based on what we’re seeing with current levels of demand and supply we expect to see about 7.75 million sales this year, which given the incredibly turbulent market conditions that’s still a very impressive performance.”

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