Strong demand for used cars is sending prices soaring and motorists flocking to buy older cars to keep their costs down, says BuyaCar.co.uk website.
Following the biggest sales month in the company’s 18-year history, the online car supermarket has announced that four-year-old cars are now the site’s most popular option for the first time ever. After four years the big hit on depreciation has already been taken, and low miles examples may well do another 50,000 before major suspension, brakes and clutch problems affect the car.
While many drivers are finding suitable cars on their budget by choosing a slightly older model, average sale prices are still rising due to a surge in demand for higher end sporty and luxury cars. As many drivers say goodbye to commuting to the office, they are buying the car they always wanted – rather than the 60mpg transport they had to endure for two hours a day every Mon-Fri.
Driving the exceptional market in August – which is usually a quieter month for the motor retail industry, ahead of a new registration plate in September – is the explosion in demand that followed Britain’s coronavirus lockdown being unwound.
Analysts point out that the increase in average prices paid is partly caused by more motorists splashing out on a more exciting car than they might previously have chosen. For example, in the first 10 days of August cars such as the sporty Nissan 370Z and Abarth 124 Spider convertible were snapped up alongside consistently popular ‘bread and butter’ models such as Mercedes A Class, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo. BuyaCar.co.uk even delivered a £51,280 Mercedes E Class in August.
These sales have helped to push average prices paid by customers so far in August to £19,969 – an increase of £2,000 since the start of the year.
And as used car prices rise in general, in the post-lockdown sales surge, many motorists have been switching to four-year-old cars to stay within their intended budget. Usually the most popular age for a car sold on BuyaCar.co.uk is three years, but the first half of August saw slightly older cars become most popular for the first time.
Christofer Lloyd, editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: “We have never seen a summer market like this before. Usually August sees a raft of heavily discounted newer cars appearing as dealers try to clear the decks in time for a busy September, but instead motorists are snapping up slightly older cars to get the type of car they’re after without blowing their monthly budget.
“But what is also interesting is the surge in more luxurious vehicle sales, including sporty models. It may be that some of the money drivers inevitably saved during lockdown, when much leisure spending was curtailed, is going into more entertaining cars instead.”