Press release

Retail Price Index | March 2022

USED CAR PRICES CONTINUE YEAR-ON-YEAR GROWTH, BUT THE TRAJECTORY SHOWS SIGNS OF SLOWING

The latest findings from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index, which is based on daily pricing analysis of circa 900,000 vehicles, revealed that the average price of a used car increased 32% on a year-on-year (YoY) and like-for-like basis in March. It marks the 24th month of consecutive YoY price growth; over this period motorists will have seen the average value of their used car increase nearly £4,400.

Whilst YoY prices are continuing to increase, it’s clear that the rate of growth is beginning to ease, with March’s 0.1% rise on the 31.9% recorded in February representing the lowest monthly movement since November 2020.

Although there are signs of a slight softening in demand, influenced in part by the rising cost of living, comparisons with last year are distorted by the strong on-site demand recorded in March 2021 as buyers edged towards the end of lockdown.  However, despite potential economic headwinds, there continues to be plenty of consumer appetite in the market, which is evident in the fact that demand is up against pre-pandemic levels (circa 4% on March 2019) and  traffic to the Auto Trader marketplace remains very strong with circa 69 million cross platform visits in March.  

Further highlighting the current resilience of the used car market, the latest on-site research conducted by Auto Trader suggests consumer confidence remains robust. Around 40% of the circa 1,600 people surveyed in March intend to buy in the next two weeks, and 67% want to buy in the next three months.

Commenting on March’s performance, Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s Director of Data and Insights, said: “Although used car price growth and consumer demand is softening, it’s important to put it into context. Against a backdrop of ‘once in a lifetime’ levels of demand in 2021, it’s easy to misinterpret the data as a market in decline, but a quick look under the bonnet reveals that any suggestion prices are about to tumble, is unfounded. Despite growing economic pressures, the appetite for new and used cars remains above pre-pandemic levels, which combined with the ongoing squeeze in supply, will keep used car prices strong for the foreseeable future.”

One in five ‘nearly new’ cars priced above brand new equivalents

Looking at the data on a more granular basis, one in five (20%) of the nearly new cars currently available (those aged up to 12 months) are more expensive than their brand-new equivalents. Over the last 12 months, the average price of these nearly new cars has increased circa £8,700[1], and over £11,700 in the last two years[2]. Remarkably, despite these unprecedented pricing dynamics nearly new cars were selling on average 22 days faster last month than in March 2021 (30 days vs 52).

Growing pinch at the pump sees EV demand rocket

It’s evident the current record fuel prices is influencing the market dynamics of electric vehicle (EV) and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. On Auto Trader, demand (based on searches and advert views) for EVs has gradually been easing since the original fuel crisis in autumn of 2021. However, as prices at the pumps have accelerated over recent weeks, there’s been a notable reversal of this trend, with levels of demand for [3]premium and volume[4] brand EVs increasing 79.1% YoY (up significantly on the 28.8% YoY growth recorded in February) and 120.2% YoY (up from 53% YoY) respectively. Although EV supply is growing, these external factors are stimulating demand at a much steeper rate, helping to fuel very strong price growth for both premium (20.1% YoY / £50,499) and volume (27.5% / £26,137) brand EVs.

These  factors have also contributed to a further easing in appetite for their ICE counterparts, with  demand for used petrol cars back  -10.3% on March 21 (down from -4.7% YoY in February), and diesel dropping from an already low -13.6% YoY in February, to -21.3% last month. However, due to the ongoing supply constraints of ICE vehicles (down -2.4% YoY and -10.3% respectively), both used petrol and diesel cars recorded strong price growth last month, increasing 33.9% YoY (£16,593) and 31.1% (£17,641) respectively.

Prices for three-five-year-old cars continue to rocket

Year-on-year prices were up across all age cohorts in March, with three to five-year-old cars recording the largest price movements in recent months, rocketing a massive 35.8% YoY (£20,445). It was followed by cars aged five to ten years old, which saw prices increase 32.3% YoY (£13,212). 

Sue Robinson, Chief Executive, NFDA, added: “Used car prices remain at high levels despite seeing a level of stabilisation. Considering the impact that external factors such as the rising cost of living are having on consumer confidence and taking into account ongoing supply constraints, the latest data shows that underlying demand for second-hand vehicles remains robust. It is encouraging to see that appetite for both new and used electrified vehicles continues to be particularly strong.”

 

Top 10 price growth (all fuel types) | March 2022 vs March 2021 like-for-like

Such is the strength of the used car market, just two of the lowest performing models have seen prices contract.

Ranks

Make

Model

Mar-22 Average Asking Price

Price Change (YoY)

1

SEAT

Alhambra

£18,895

58.1%

2

Ford

S-Max

£15,471

54.8%

3

Toyota

Auris

£13,063

51.6%

4

Renault

Scenic

£8,162

51.4%

5

SKODA

Yeti

£12,955

51.0%

6

Hyundai

i30

£12,468

50.6%

7

SKODA

Octavia

£16,468

50.0%

8

Citroen

Berlingo

£13,167

49.9%

9

Ford

Galaxy

£16,247

49.5%

10

Ford

Grand C-Max

£12,536

49.4%

           
           

Top 10 price contraction (all fuel types) | March 2022 vs March 2021 like-for-like

Rank

Make

Model

Mar-22 Average Asking Price

Price Change

10

Mazda

CX-30

£24,621

5.1%

9

DS AUTOMOBILES

DS 3 CROSSBACK

£21,784

5.0%

8

Tesla

Model 3

£47,705

4.0%

7

Vauxhall

Crossland

£19,708

3.4%

6

Land Rover

Discovery 3

£8,363

2.5%

5

BMW

8 Series Gran Coupe

£60,799

2.0%

4

CUPRA

Formentor

£35,747

0.8%

3

BMW

8 Series

£56,886

0.2%

2

Porsche

Taycan

£120,565

-1.2%

1

Vauxhall

Mokka

£12,046

-4.9%

           
           

[1] £27,558 in March 2020 vs £36,228 in March 2022

[2] £24,518 in March 2020 vs £36,228 in March 2022

[3] Premium EV brands categorised as: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Tesla, Volvo, MINI, DS AUTOMOBILES, Lexus, Abarth, Alfa Romeo

[4] Volume EV brands categorised as: Ford, Volkswagen, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Nissan, Citroen, Kia, Hyundai, MG, Renault, SEAT, SKODA, Honda, Toyota, Fiat, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Smart, Dacia, Jeep, Subaru

We're excited to announce that, as of 1st July, we'll be powering the used car pages on @whatcar and its sister site, @autocar. https://t.co/H4GJLafkh7
We're excited to announce that, as of 1st July, we'll be powering the used car pages on @whatcar and its sister site, @autocar. https://t.co/H4GJLafkh7
What are the three big barriers to electric vehicle adoption and how can we as an industry help to overcome them? Find out in the latest edition of The Road to 2030 report 👉https://t.co/ho4cNqeUsQ https://t.co/qlA2IX6EiF
Are you getting the basics right? Find out in this week's tip of the week where @AndrewKorpela highlights the need to maintain your digital best practises. https://t.co/Rkm0nKu19B
One of the most recent entrants to the EV market, the @CUPRA Born, is currently seeing the most advert views of any new EV on our marketplace. With a new EV model set to enter the market every 10 days this year, what model do you think we'll see make the list? https://t.co/nOcF7YguLg
We've been working with manufacturers to get you access to the specification profile for each car and we're excited to announce that this is now available to retailers, helping you to make creating high-quality adverts easier than ever. Find out more 👇 https://t.co/lv2kLf4E77
After a slight technical glitch @therickw is live and sharing our latest market data. Demand has seen a decline but used car prices remain robust. https://t.co/lSNLB6rLrg
Over now to @MarcThornboroug who asks "is it time to reset your goals"? Last year's performance was incredibly strong across the market, being very much a seller's market. But in recent weeks we have seen it start to shift towards a buyers market. https://t.co/BVEiBdl9Dy
We're kicking off today's webinar with @marc_palmer. Right now the economy is the top issue for many people with the cost of living crisis in full swing and the spectre of a recession looming. But what does this mean for car sales? Read the thread to find out 👇 https://t.co/ZMErCURxJU

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