Auto Trader's response to the Q3 used car transactions
“Whilst consumer appetite for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) is growing rapidly in both the new and used car markets, the biggest challenge to the government’s road to zero ambitions may no longer be the traditionally perceived barriers to entry, such as cost and infrastructure, but rather a matter of long-term supply and demand” said Ian Plummer, Auto Trader Director.
“Despite the lack of a compelling narrative from the government to make a switch from fossil to electric, used AFVs recorded a strong performance over the last quarter. It’s a similar picture on our marketplace where over the last three months the percentage of fuel related searches attributed to AFVs has increased from 4 per cent to 7 per cent, having remained flat for over a year. And in July, the UK’s fastest selling used car was a Renault Zoe; a first for a fully electric vehicle.
"However, whilst AFVs undoubtedly represent an exciting opportunity for retailers, significant growth may be hampered by a lack of availability. In terms of stock to search ratio, each AFV car advertised on Auto Trader receives an average of four times as many searches than the average petrol car. Purely electric vehicles (EV) receive nearly nine times as many. And with some manufacturers questioning the ROI in supplying post-Brexit UK with the much anticipated second generation EVs which will be in high demand throughout their other European markets too, demand may outstrip supply in both the new and used markets. In addition, it’s expected that once we leave the EU, car sales in the UK will no longer count towards the very tough European environmental targets that brands need to achieve across their entire range, potentially further reducing the incentive for brands to focus on selling their new alternatively fuelled cars in the UK
"It's another challenge retailers will have to face in what has already been a difficult year, including Brexit and fuel type anxieties, as well as more recently, the impact of Worldwide Harmonised Light Test Procedure (WLTP) regulations. However, despite the uncertainties, the second-hand market continues to show great resilience, and offers plenty of opportunities for retailers managing a far more turbulent new car market.
"The prospects for the closing months of 2018 look equally promising. The narrow pipeline of WLTP compliant vehicles provides a great chance to capitalise on impatient car buyers open to nearly new alternatives. Indeed, we’ve seen an increase in nearly new ad views over the last two months."