Press release

Used car market off to a confident start as exceptional demand fuels record price growth

The latest Auto Trader Retail Price Index, which is based on daily pricing analysis of circa 900,000 vehicles, reveals a strong start to the year for the used car market as average prices reached another record in January. With an average sticker price of £18,067, it not only marks the 22nd consecutive month of price growth, but a remarkable 31.3% year-on-year (YoY) increase on a like-for-like basis.

This massive price growth continues to be fuelled by the unusually large gap between the levels of supply and demand in the market. Whilst the global shortage in semi-conductors continues to place pressure on both new and used car supplies, consumer demand remains exceptionally high, which is reflected in the huge number of used car enquires being sent to retailers through the Auto Trader platform. Last month, the volume of enquiries increased by nearly a third (31%) on January 2021. 

Due to the record pace at which used car prices are increasing, retailers who fail to keep track are at risk of losing crucial profits due to under-pricing their stock. In fact, according to the latest data from Auto Trader, in January alone, retailers on its marketplace missed out on circa £125 million in potential profit as a result of pricing below the current retail valuation. It equates to an average of over £11,000 per retailer. Remarkably, the profit gap is widening, increasing from a potential profit loss of circa £93 million (circa £9,000 per retailer) in August 2021.

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

Highlighting just how strong the used car market is, more than one in five (21%) of the nearly new cars currently available (those aged up to 12 months) are more expensive than their brand-new equivalents. Nearly half (46%) are priced within 5% of the RRP. The reason for this previously unheard-of phenomenon, is down to the same dynamics affecting the wider used car market i.e. very high demand – in this case from car buyers unable or unwilling to wait for a brand-new car to become available – coupled with very low supply. Despite this, nearly new cars were leaving forecourts 24% faster in January 2022, than they were in January 2021 (an average of 41 days vs 54).

Commenting on January’s performance, Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s Director of Data and Insights, said: “The January blues have done little to take the heat out of the used car market, which has started the year in a very strong position. The ongoing squeeze on new and used car supply, combined with exceptionally strong consumer demand has ensured that the record price growth we saw last year has continued into 2022. From what we’re tracking there’s little evidence to suggest that these very unusual market dynamics will change significantly any time soon. Simple economics therefore point to a continuation of strong price growth well into the year ahead.”

Looking at January’s price growth on a more granular basis, volume brands are currently recording the largest year-on-year price increases on vehicles aged below five years old. Prices across all brands rose by least 11% (Aston Martin) last month, but at the top end of the scale, volume brands including Ford (42%), Skoda (41%) and Suzuki (39%) saw almost four times that level of growth.

The current supply dynamics have resulted in exceptional YoY price growth for both petrol and diesel vehicles, with the former up 32.7% (£16,841) and the latter up 31.4% (£17,876). Demand for petrol increased by a significant 9.7% YoY, whilst supply decreased by -5.1%. Demand for diesel was flat (0%) YoY, but supply dropped by a massive -14.2% in January.

Meanwhile, prices for both volume[1] and premium[2] electric vehicles (EVs) saw large month-on-month (MoM) increases. Last month, volume brand EVs increased by 32.2% YoY (£26,502), up from 30.4% growth in December, whilst premium brand EVs continued to catch up the pace, growing at a rate of 17.8% (£50,528), up from 15% the prior month. YoY demand saw upward MoM movements for both, albeit only just for premium. Demand for volume EV brands increased a whopping 80.2% YoY (up from 60.4% YoY in December) and a more than respectable 44.2% YoY for premium EV brands (up from 44% YoY).

Sue Robinson, Chief Executive, NFDA commented: “Used car prices remain high as a result of supply constraints adversely affecting the global market. Nevertheless, dealers are optimistic, reinforced by consumers’ growing appetite for Electric Vehicles. Despite challenges, most notably relating to supply, consumer confidence remains robust for the year ahead.” 

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

Ranks

Make

Model

Jan-22 Average Asking Price

Price Change (YoY)

1

SEAT

Alhambra

£19,018

52.2%

2

Renault

Grand Scenic

£11,300

50.6%

3

Ford

S-Max

£15,333

50.0%

4

SKODA

Yeti

£13,009

49.9%

5

SKODA

Octavia

£17,022

47.2%

6

Ford

Focus

£15,783

46.9%

7

Toyota

Auris

£13,331

45.5%

8

Land Rover

Defender 110

£82,178

45.4%

9

Toyota

Yaris

£13,876

44.4%

10

Ford

Grand C-Max

£12,395

44.3%

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

Rank

Make

Model

Jan-22 Average Asking Price

Price Change

10

Mazda

CX-30

£24,899

5.5%

9

DS AUTOMOBILES

DS 3 CROSSBACK

£22,059

4.4%

8

MINI

Electric

£28,533

4.1%

7

Subaru

Forester

£22,949

2.5%

6

BMW

8 Series

£58,449

2.0%

5

Audi

e-tron

£64,057

1.8%

4

Vauxhall

Crossland

£21,173

-1.1%

3

BMW

8 Series Gran Coupe

£60,391

-1.7%

2

Porsche

Taycan

£117,863

-10.6%

1

CUPRA

Formentor

£35,961

-13.8%

[1] 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

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

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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