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

Ever wandered what impact a mention on @BBC_TopGear can have on a brand? Even for the mighty @forduk #Fiesta a review or positive mention can result in a massive spike in ad views on our market place https://t.co/SUyoJrSAAq
And another #MakeACarAMove beauty from @SinclairSkoda !! 👏 https://t.co/0Zq4RENHnp
Did you see the fun we had yesterday with #MakeACarAMovie?! Great effort as always from the gang @eCars247 ! 🤣 https://t.co/ua9VtWTKlK
Exciting news! Entries are now open for the 2019 #ATAwards self-nomination categories: Business Initiative of the Year & the People & Culture Award. As last year's big winner @RobinLuscombe highlights, a winner's logo can make a big difference. Enter here https://t.co/gV180jMxhE https://t.co/QtqBA0dXpq
It's no revelation that new cars are becoming more sophisticated, but did you know that explaining semi-autonomous features & avoiding jargon can not only improve the chances of a sale, but also build brand loyalty? Chris Penny highlights what that could mean for your business. https://t.co/bmUcdNuJ1P
Today marks the launch of Retail Accelerator, the UK's most powerful forecourt management solution. The brand new tool represents 3 years of significant investment in our data capabilities & will replace the successful i-Control. Find out more here: https://t.co/nHb69I2dpu https://t.co/lBVN2bMcuJ
It was a big month for used EVs in March; not only did the @NissanUK Leaf take the top spot as the UK's fastest selling used car, but we saw a record number of AFVs make it onto the regional top 10s. A sign of things to come? Read more here: https://t.co/GtjVcFjCNJ https://t.co/H5eLB5In07
Have you registered for tomorrow's webinar? With a focus on EVs you’ll get an insight into the buying behaviours of 5,000 consumers - the cars they’re buying the shift in buying trends & how to make the overall process easier. Sign up here https://t.co/eqGvYTYqvc https://t.co/ec56vT7I2n
Huge congratulations to the UK winners of @Groupe_Renault's annual Dealers of the Year Awards hosted at the iconic @StadeFrance. @RenaultRetailUK's top performing UK dealers were amongst the very best in the world! 🍾 Read who scooped what award here: https://t.co/99CzFUjdIX
Love cars? Live in the Surrey area? Then make your way to @TrustFordUK #Epsom this Sunday for an amazing 150+ car show in aid of the brilliant automotive charity @BenSupport4Auto. Lots of fun to be had for the whole family so don't miss out; details here https://t.co/OAlcYg387h https://t.co/T9Y7mHqJXZ

Auto Trader Group plc
Registered in England (Company number: 09439967)

Auto Trader Limited
Registered in England and Wales (Company number: 03909628)

Registered address:

1 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester
M15 4FN
VAT number: GB 614 8918 20

Keep in touch

We use social media to speak to the UK’s largest car buying audience