Press release

Used diesel prices record promising start to 2018, but searches continue to fall

Average price of a used car increased 6% year-on-year (like-for-like) in January.

  • Used diesel prices increased 3% (like-for-like) last year
  • Diesel searches reach record low as anti-diesel rhetoric dents consumer confidence

7th February 2018, London – According to the latest results from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index, the price of a used car in the UK is continuing to grow; achieving an average of £12,775 in January. On a like-for-like basis – stripping out the impact of changes in the mix of cars being sold1 – this equates to a 6% increase on January 2017.

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.

Diesels holding value  

2018 got off to a promising start for used diesel prices. On average, a second-hand diesel cost £14,405 in January, which was a significant £777 increase on the same period in 2017. On a like-for-like basis, this represents a solid 3% year-on-year growth.

However, petrol saw a more impressive leap in used prices last month, recording an average of £10,713; a £1,733 jump on January 2017. A 10% increase on a like-for-like basis.

Dented diesel confidence affects searches

On average, 22% of all searches that take place on Auto Trader each month are based on fuel type. The share of car buyers selecting diesel when searching on Auto Trader fell from 71% In November 2016, to an annual low of 54% in December. Last month’s data reveals that this figure has continued to decline into the new year, dropping slightly to a new low of 53% of all fuel related searches in January.

Conversely, as diesel searches have fallen, petrol has steadily increased its share of fuel related searches, rising from just 26% in November 2016, to a high of 43% in January 2018.

In January 2018 4% of all fuel related searches were attributed to alternatively fuelled vehicles (hybrid, bi-fuel, petrol ethanol, LPG, electric), which was no movement from December and a 1% increase year-on-on. Comparing the total volume of AFV searches across the year, the number of searches for AFVs on Auto Trader increased 65% between 2016 and 2017, with electric alone recording a huge jump of 84% in searches.

Commenting on the findings, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Retailer and Consumer Product Director, said: “With new diesel registrations continuing to tumble, it’s very reassuring to see used diesel prices not only retaining their value, but actually increasing in January. It’s clear, however, just how harmful the government’s strong anti-diesel stance has been on the automotive industry. Our marketplace attracts over 55 million cross platform visits each month, so it offers a useful and accurate picture of consumer buying intention. We can see that the misstep in not clarifying the difference between new Euro6 and older vehicles has seriously dampened consumer buying confidence, reflected in both the ongoing fall in new diesel registrations, as well as the searches on our market place.

“There remains great opportunity for retailers in 2018, not least the growing popularity of AFVs, but unless the government is prepared to soften its position on diesel and offer car buyers greater incentives for buying electric, the year ahead will remain unnecessarily challenging for the market.”

1. Mix is determined by Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders segment, age of vehicle and fuel type

About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group plc is the UK and Ireland’s largest digital automotive marketplace. Auto Trader sits at the heart of the UK’s vehicle buying process and its primary activity is to help vehicle retailers compete effectively on the marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 250 Index.

The marketplace brings together the largest and most engaged consumer audience. Auto Trader has over 88% prompted brand awareness and attracts an average of 55 million monthly cross platform visits a month, with circa 70% of visits coming through mobile devices.

The marketplace also has the largest pool of vehicle sellers (listing more than 470,000 cars each day). Over 80% of UK automotive retailers advertise on autotrader.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Nankervis | Andrew.nankervis@autotrader.co.uk

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Exactly one week ago when @MrRoryReid & @ErinBakerMotors announced the winners of the Auto Trader New Car Awards – revealing the best #newcars in the UK according to over 181,000 car owners! You can check out the #award winners at https://t.co/FMgf5HByCM #ThrowbackThursday https://t.co/SAFHIczDhl
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Big thanks to everyone who joined today's webinar and of course to our guest speaker @vertumotors!
Reminder that next week we'll be launching #ATHighlyRated! Retailers who met the criteria will be receiving a pack next week to promote their achievements to consumers. https://t.co/UJgS71ytoP
Over to @stuart_trader who reveals the result of our earlier poll - a majority discounting prices much less or maintaining pre-#covid19 approach https://t.co/t8PfkUzrtU

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