Press release

SMMT used car transactions | Q3 2019

Ian Plummer, Auto Trader's commercial director, provides his view on the latest used car transactions, and what lies ahead for the market. 

At a time when the new car market is struggling, it’s reassuring to see such a solid performance in used cars. At nearly four time times the size of the new car market and with the potential for greater margins, the used market remains the biggest opportunity for retailers in the closing months of 2019.

“Whilst the current economic climate isn’t driving consumers to delay their next car purchase, it is affecting their decision between new or used. Indeed, rather than the average transaction cycle of 3.4 years extending to four, as Brexit and election anxieties persist we're seeing people less willing to risk stretching their budget to a new car and instead reverting to what may be perceived as a better value and lower cost alternative. 

“These same considerations are also affecting their choice in terms of fuel type. As a consequence of the demonisation of diesel, we’ve seen used petrol values grow at a faster rate. As a result, on a like for like basis, buyers are now often viewing diesels as better value for money.

 “Despite the lack of a compelling narrative or any meaningful financial incentives for consumers to make the switch from fossil to electric, used alternatively fuelled sales recorded another strong performance over the last quarter. We’re seeing a similar picture on our marketplace where searches for pure electric vehicles have increased 59% since October 2018. What’s more, this month the Renault ZOE is both the fastest and second fastest selling used car in the UK, the first time a pure EV has achieved the 'one-two'. 

“In case there were any doubts, there is clearly a growing market for second-hand low emission vehicles. However, whilst AFVs undoubtedly represent an exciting opportunity for retailers, the biggest challenge to consumer adoption may no longer be the traditional perceived barriers to entry, such as cost and infrastructure, but rather a matter of long-term supply and demand for affordable nearly new or used models.”

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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