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.

In a recent consumer facing video, our You Tube Director @MrRoryReid explains why the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales is a good thing and why car buyers need to embrace EVs. Do you agree with his viewpoint? https://t.co/y89i8EvQoe
Good news for retailers in England with today's confirmation that retailers can remain open in all tiers that come into effect from Wednesday 2 December. https://t.co/R1RAQCBpAx
Join @Motor_Ombudsman , Auto Trader and @radiuslaw for a free webinar exploring the future of online retail in the automotive industry in detail. Register now > https://t.co/9e5gGIp2Ix https://t.co/mbuNuYcYD3
Leads from Auto Trader continue to be far higher when compared to the same time last year, with the year-on-year (YoY) increase in leads higher than the increase in visitors to Auto Trader, up 15.3% YoY, and ad views, up 12.2% YoY. https://t.co/On3wLY81J5
Be sure to clearly display what delivery methods you are offering and what safety measures you have in place on your Auto Trader adverts. Many retailers already have... https://t.co/P9qqRfcsIU
Remember to upgrade your package by the 30th November to benefit from our free December period. Contact your account manager for more details. https://t.co/gQr63pAnaP
Our latest support for retailers in the UK in December. https://t.co/5lX1pXw2ka
Over to our Data & Insight Director @therickw who reveals that visitor levels to Auto Trader are up 15.3% compared to the same time last year with leads up a massive 25.2%. https://t.co/OGfyiQD5Yu
A reminder from @MarcThornboroug that if you are taking part in any fundraising activities, we do have a fund to support you. Get in touch with your account manager to find out more. https://t.co/QJbvEpTRBS
And we're off with @stuart_trader kicking off this week's webinar. Stay tuned right here for all the highlights over the next hour.

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