Press release

Auto Trader Retail Price Index 2018

Used diesels hold value in 2018, but petrol was best performer as used prices reach record high in December

  • Used cars record 5% price increase (like-for-like) in 2018
  • Diesel prices increased 3% (like-for-like) last year
  • Searches for diesels on Auto Trader drop -18% in 2018 and 40% since 2016
  • Searches for AFVs and EVs increase 129% and 179% in just two years

The latest findings from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index revealed that despite the nearly 30%[1] decline in new diesel registrations last year, the value of used diesels remained buoyant, recording an average price of £14,390; an annual like-for-like[2] growth of 3%. What’s more, the growing popularity of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) was reflected in the increasing average sticker price of second-hand AFVs in 2018 (£20,078). It marks a 6% growth on the previous year.

However, with an average retail price of £10,550 across the year, petrol was the biggest climber in 2018. On a like-for-like basis, the fuel type recorded an increase of 7% on 2017.

In terms of the market as a whole, the average price of a used car reached £12,542 last year; which on a like-for-like basis equates to a 5% increase on 2017.

Commenting on the findings, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Commercial Product Director, said: “2018 has been a challenging year for the industry on a number of fronts, not least the ongoing economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit, fuel type confusion and new WLTP regulations. However, despite these hurdles second-hand vehicles are not only holding their value but are in fact increasing. It reflects not only the health of the second-hand car market, but with ever increasing prices, just how fundamental to the buying process finance has become, to both new and used cars. Getting that right will be key to growth in 2019.”

Despite a slightly turbulent start to the year, 2018 ends on a positive note

Focusing in on December, after steadily increasing for seven consecutive months, the average price of a used car reached an all-time high of £12,977 last month. In terms of specific fuel types, used diesel prices have experienced three months of slow decline, decreasing from an average of £14,661 in October, to £14,536 in December. However, in contrast, the average price of used petrol cars has increased at a relatively steep rate, climbing from £10,733 in May 2018, to a high of £11,288 in December. AFVs have followed a similar trajectory, climbing consistently £19,944 in July 2018, to £21,102 last month.

The Auto Trader Retail Price Index combines and analyses data from c. 500,000 trade used car listings every day, as well as additional dealer forecourt and website data (manufacturer, fleet and leasing disposal prices, in addition to pricing data from over 3,000 car dealership websites), ensuring the Index is the most accurate reflection of the live retail market.

Diesel popularity tumbled in 2018, but electric surged

The proportion of fuel related searches attributed to diesel on Auto Trader has seen a significant fall in-line with anti-diesel rhetoric, dropping from a high of 71% in November 2016, to a record low of 47% last month.  On an annual basis, diesel searches declined -18% between 2017 and 2018, and a significant 40% since 2016.  

In November 2016 petrol accounted for 26% of all fuel related searches on Auto Trader. As the number of searches for diesel have tumbled, petrol has increased reaching a record high of 47% last month. Annually, the proportion of petrol searches grew 12% last year, and 43% since 2016.  

Last year saw significant movement in the number of consumers searching for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV: electric, hybrid, bi fuel, LPG and petrol ethanol) on Auto Trader. At the beginning of the year, AFVs accounted for just 4% of all fuel related searches. However, since October 2018 this figure reached, and has remained steady, at 7%. Annually, between 2017 and 2018, there was a 40% increase in consumers searching for AFVs, with electric alone recording a spike of 52%. In just two years, searches for AFVs and pure electric have increased a significant 130% and 179% respectively.

Edwards-Smajda continued: “With a 40% decline in searches in just two years, we can now see with real clarity just how negative an impact the fuel debate has had on diesel. However, it’s incredibly reassuring to see such a huge increase in popularity for AFVs, and with an exciting array of second-generation electric vehicles set to hit the market this year, we can expect to see this popularity surge significantly in 2019.” 

---ends---

[1] Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – New car registrations, January 2019

[2] Stripping out the impact of changes in the mix of cars being sold. Including the change in Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders segment classification, age and fuel type.

Just over a week to go to this year's @Auto30Club annual conference which we're proud to be hosting in our London offices. We're looking forward to what's set to be a fantastic day of unique insights, best practice and networking https://t.co/Phfymugcnw
On the 28th November at 11am we'll be hosting a webinar regarding our forthcoming changes to the consumer experience on our marketplace. Don't miss the opportunity to ask all your questions & comments to Beth, Chris and Marc. Sign up today here: https://t.co/2cSKLzsh8F https://t.co/vZhu7jXBBg
We're excited to partner with @gard_x to incorporate its innovative SpinCar technology onto our marketplace which we believe will further help retailers stand out in today’s increasingly competitive market. Read all about it on @AMchatter here https://t.co/AWdNtYWVWL
Two weeks to go! If you're not a member of the @Auto30Club (yet!) and would like to attend this one day seminar please get in touch with victoria@automotive30club.co.uk https://t.co/5w61NEY23R
We're proud to sponsor this year's @Auto30Club conference on 28 Nov. The event will see a host of brilliant guest speakers from inside & outside the industry sharing unmissable insight. For non members wishing to attend please get in touch with victoria@automotive30club.co.uk https://t.co/pr5hIwac0L
Did you know 88% of car buyers are worried they’re not getting a fair deal & 86% are worried they can’t trust the retailer. To help instil more confidence in the vehicle, the price & the retailer we're evolving the consumer experience. Find out more here https://t.co/kJyCtRAkTm https://t.co/PbvVn2RR5h
Throughout May & June we hosted a series of Dealer Open Golf Championship qualifiers around the UK with 192 golfers taking part. Last month we held the final at The Grove - it was a fantastic day & the brilliant team from @HiltonGarage lifted the trophy. Congratulations guys 🏆 https://t.co/xUQfHwt390
Good luck everyone!🏆 https://t.co/1eUedGX8Vp
We're very honoured to have been invited to @TrustFordUK's brilliant annual employee conference today. Our Insight Director Nick King loved the opportunity to share some of our latest insights from the Market Report and Car Buyers Report. Thank you for having us! https://t.co/GgP3OBzAzR
The latest figures from the AT Fastest Selling Index show that the Renault ZOE isn't only the fastest selling used car in the UK, it's the 2nd too. It's just the 3rd time a pure EV has taken the top spot & the first to get the one-two. Read more here: https://t.co/UmqSVkDRFN https://t.co/KN1NeyR9Fe

Auto Trader Group plc
Registered in England (Company number: 09439967)

Auto Trader Limited
Registered in England and Wales (Company number: 03909628)

Registered address:

1 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester
M15 4FN
VAT number: GB 614 8918 20

Keep in touch

We use social media to speak to the UK’s largest car buying audience