Press release

Average used car prices reach record high in November

  • Prices reach record high, but rate of growth continues to slow across all fuel types
  • Diesel remains most popular on Auto Trader, accounting for 48% of fuel related searches

At a time when the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) announced the value of used cars financed by dealers at the point of sale surged 14 per cent[1], and volume up 8 per cent, the average price of a used car reached a record £12,967 in November. That’s the findings from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index, which combines and analyses data from c. 500,000 trade used car listings every day, as well as additional dealer forecourt and website data to provide the most accurate reflection of the live retail market.

The record high was mirrored across the various fuel types tracked by the Index. The average price of a used petrol vehicle last month was £11,202, the highest rate recorded, as was both the £20,828 average price for alternatively fuelled vehicles[2] (AFVs) and the £19,978 for pure electric vehicles (EV). The average sticker price for a used diesel was £14,630, which was just £73 less than October’s record high of £14,556.   

However, the Index revealed that the rate of growth has been steadily slowing across the board. The average price of a used car recorded an annual increase of 4 per cent in November, which marks the lowest increase since August 2017. Year-on-year (YoY) growth reached a peak of 7 per cent in June this year but has been slowing each subsequent month.

It reflects a similar trend seen across the fuel types, with diesel reaching a peak (6 per cent) in July 2018 but gradually slowing to 4 per cent in November, whilst petrol’s rate of growth decelerated even more significantly, from 11 per cent in December 2017, to just 4 per cent last month. AFVs have also been gradually slowing since December, from 9 per cent to 4 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Director of Commercial Products, said: “At circa 35 per cent, finance currently accounts for a relatively small proportion of purchases in the used car market. However, as the latest industry results highlight, as the average cost of used cars increase, the more vital finance is becoming in the second-hand buying journey. With the average three-year new car cycle fuelling the market, finance enables consumers to buy younger, more desirable and crucially, more expensive second-hand cars.

 Making the financing of used cars more competitive, accessible and easier to understand for buyers will be a crucial step in taking advantage of this opportunity. In an industry where there is increasing competition and complexity, it’s vital that retailers give themselves the very best chance of success; getting finance right will unquestionably be key to unlocking growth in the used car market in 2019.”

November 2016 (£)

November 2017 (£)

November 2018 (£)

Year-on-Year growth (%)

Used car (total)

£11,213

£12,589

£12,967

4.42%

Petrol

£8,721

£10,342

£11,202

4.44%

Diesel

£13,557

£14,412

£14,630

4.45%

Electric

£15,202

£15,806

£20,981

11.94%

AFV (collective for all AFVs)

£18,279

£20,569

£20,828

3.92%

Diesel retains title for most popular fuel type on Auto Trader

 With 55 million multi-platform visits each month[3], an audience four times larger than its closest competitor, Auto Trader is the UK’s largest automotive marketplace for new and used cars, offering an unparalleled view of the nation’s consumer buying behaviour. ‘Searched for’ data revealed that despite tumbling new car registrations[4], diesels remain the most popular fuel type on Auto Trader, accounting for 48[5] per cent of all fuel related searched that took place in November. 46 per cent of searches were for petrol, and 7 per cent were for AFVs.

November

2017 (%)

October

2018 (%)

November

2018 (%)

Petrol

41%

45%

46%

Diesel

54%

48%

48%

Electric

4%

7%

7%

AFV

1%

1%

1%

 About the Retail Price Index

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 (OEM, fleet and leasing disposal prices, in addition to 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.

[1] Finance and Leasing Association November 2018

[2] Combines electric, bi-fuel, hybrid diesel/electric plug-in, hybrid diesel/electric, hybrid, hybrid petrol/electric, hybrid petrol/electric plug-in, and petrol ethanol.

[3] ComScore MMX® Multi-Platform, Total Audience, Auto Trader, Average of Total Visits from Apr- Sept 2018, U.K.

[4] Society of Motor manufacturers and Traders, November 2018

[5] Rounded up to the nearest whole number

After steadily increasing for 7 months, the average price of a used car reached an all-time high of £12,977 in Dec. Average diesel prices declined from a high of £14,661 in Oct. to £14,536, whilst petrol reached a record of £11,288. You can read more here: https://t.co/X9MZLisV4Y https://t.co/UMAknC3frw
On an annual basis, the percentage of fuel related searches attributed to diesel have declined 40% since 2016, whilst searches for alternatively fuelled vehicles have shot up 130% and pure electric 179%. Get the full story here: https://t.co/X9MZLisV4Y https://t.co/WcwRX0vf1b
The latest results from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index revealed that the average cost of a used car last year was £12,542; an annual increase of +5%. Second-hand diesels held their value, increasing +3%, whilst petrol grew +7%. You can read more here: https://t.co/X9MZLisV4Y https://t.co/3o4PbNwElY
The FLA reports consumer finance declined -1% in November, reflecting a slowing market. In reality finance is fuelling sales & with prices steadily increasing will be key to unlocking different types of consumer in 2019. Read more in our Market Report https://t.co/lnN0L8ykH2 https://t.co/GU3GI37Oeo
Did you know we've combined Part Ex valuations and Dealer Finance to give you even better quality leads? You can find out more by listening to our recent dedicated webinar: https://t.co/H1yf8kWPnS https://t.co/MMgcsLMFrO
According to the @SMMT, the new car market in 2018 recorded a -6.8% decline on 2017. Diesel dropped nearly -30% but the big winner was AFV, increasing +20.9%. With an array of 2nd gen electric vehicles set to hit the market, will 2019 see the popularity of EVs surge even more? https://t.co/Y6Na7afAJq
Happy 2019! Hopefully not too many sore heads this morning. Remember, December's browsers are ready to be turned into January's buyers - make sure your ads stand out from the crowd with these top tips https://t.co/x8MACPb8S3 https://t.co/x6Zv6U9RkJ
Happy new year to all our customers, partners & friends. Despite what's been a challenging year for the industry both the new & used markets have shown incredible resilience, with both ending 2018 in solid health. That's worth raising a glass to! Cheers https://t.co/zS1WlTUoxt
Auto Trader is a company made up of 800 people committed to providing our customers, car buyers and colleagues with the very best service, platform and work place possible. We're very proud to have received lots of recognition for that commitment in 2018 #proud https://t.co/cC55R67WP0
Did you know that 52% of consumers starting the car buying process already claim to consider the cost of a car as a monthly price, rather than the full retail price? Finance is now central to the car buying process & getting it right, will be key to growth in 2019. https://t.co/yW6gBn0ELO

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