Press release

Auto Trader Retail Price Index 2018

Used diesels hold value in 2018, but petrol was best performer as used prices reach record high in December

  • Used cars record 5% price increase (like-for-like) in 2018
  • Diesel prices increased 3% (like-for-like) last year
  • Searches for diesels on Auto Trader drop -18% in 2018 and 40% since 2016
  • Searches for AFVs and EVs increase 129% and 179% in just two years

The latest findings from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index revealed that despite the nearly 30%[1] decline in new diesel registrations last year, the value of used diesels remained buoyant, recording an average price of £14,390; an annual like-for-like[2] growth of 3%. What’s more, the growing popularity of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) was reflected in the increasing average sticker price of second-hand AFVs in 2018 (£20,078). It marks a 6% growth on the previous year.

However, with an average retail price of £10,550 across the year, petrol was the biggest climber in 2018. On a like-for-like basis, the fuel type recorded an increase of 7% on 2017.

In terms of the market as a whole, the average price of a used car reached £12,542 last year; which on a like-for-like basis equates to a 5% increase on 2017.

Commenting on the findings, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Commercial Product Director, said: “2018 has been a challenging year for the industry on a number of fronts, not least the ongoing economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit, fuel type confusion and new WLTP regulations. However, despite these hurdles second-hand vehicles are not only holding their value but are in fact increasing. It reflects not only the health of the second-hand car market, but with ever increasing prices, just how fundamental to the buying process finance has become, to both new and used cars. Getting that right will be key to growth in 2019.”

Despite a slightly turbulent start to the year, 2018 ends on a positive note

Focusing in on December, after steadily increasing for seven consecutive months, the average price of a used car reached an all-time high of £12,977 last month. In terms of specific fuel types, used diesel prices have experienced three months of slow decline, decreasing from an average of £14,661 in October, to £14,536 in December. However, in contrast, the average price of used petrol cars has increased at a relatively steep rate, climbing from £10,733 in May 2018, to a high of £11,288 in December. AFVs have followed a similar trajectory, climbing consistently £19,944 in July 2018, to £21,102 last month.

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 (manufacturer, fleet and leasing disposal prices, in addition to pricing data from over 3,000 car dealership websites), ensuring the Index is the most accurate reflection of the live retail market.

Diesel popularity tumbled in 2018, but electric surged

The proportion of fuel related searches attributed to diesel on Auto Trader has seen a significant fall in-line with anti-diesel rhetoric, dropping from a high of 71% in November 2016, to a record low of 47% last month.  On an annual basis, diesel searches declined -18% between 2017 and 2018, and a significant 40% since 2016.  

In November 2016 petrol accounted for 26% of all fuel related searches on Auto Trader. As the number of searches for diesel have tumbled, petrol has increased reaching a record high of 47% last month. Annually, the proportion of petrol searches grew 12% last year, and 43% since 2016.  

Last year saw significant movement in the number of consumers searching for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV: electric, hybrid, bi fuel, LPG and petrol ethanol) on Auto Trader. At the beginning of the year, AFVs accounted for just 4% of all fuel related searches. However, since October 2018 this figure reached, and has remained steady, at 7%. Annually, between 2017 and 2018, there was a 40% increase in consumers searching for AFVs, with electric alone recording a spike of 52%. In just two years, searches for AFVs and pure electric have increased a significant 130% and 179% respectively.

Edwards-Smajda continued: “With a 40% decline in searches in just two years, we can now see with real clarity just how negative an impact the fuel debate has had on diesel. However, it’s incredibly reassuring to see such a huge increase in popularity for AFVs, and with an exciting array of second-generation electric vehicles set to hit the market this year, we can expect to see this popularity surge significantly in 2019.” 

---ends---

[1] Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – New car registrations, January 2019

[2] Stripping out the impact of changes in the mix of cars being sold. Including the change in Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders segment classification, age and fuel type.

Are you missing a window of #opportunity? https://t.co/1uTJCmteVN
Today's used car transactions from the @SMMT revealed the market was down nearly 50% in Q2. The drop will come as a surprise to few, but the good news is that Q3 is tracking well ahead of this time last year. Find out more here: https://t.co/brDH8jbIof https://t.co/J7DdbVpILA
There was a lot of love for @MINIUK which was named the Most Loved Brand at this year’s Auto Trader New Car Awards! Find out why owners love the brand so much now https://t.co/xuODBgvR0W
Where is your focus in this new environment? @johnfohanlon1 revealed he was focussed on quarterly performance and urged retailers to do the same rather than take a short-term view – especially since he predicts a slight lull in August due to summer holidays. #atinsightoftheday https://t.co/5zLnkJF3wT
If you missed this week’s webinar featuring our interview with John O'Hanlon then don’t panic! You can now watch the whole webinar on demand > https://t.co/JOzyGd9SYs https://t.co/wpY71cGxtN
We're excited to be sponsoring Weekends on @davechannel, reaching 25.2 million adults over the next 12 months, to help encourage even more potential buyers to #cardealers adverts on Auto Trader! https://t.co/BWUS0yCHUF
Not only did the @Tesla Model 3 take the New Car of the Year award at this year’s Auto Trader New Car Awards, but it also took the Best Electric Car award! Find out what owners said now at https://t.co/blltmT0Wbi #Tesla #model3 #newcar #awards #Automotive https://t.co/lSXeHSddzH
This week the @SMMT revealed new car registrations were up 11.3% compared to July last year! Looking closer at the data we can see this was primarily driven by a surge in alternative fuel vehicle registrations which now account for 25.5% of market share. #atinsightoftheday https://t.co/GbElJLHanV
Tune into @AutoRetail Live at 2pm today to hear the latest advice, tips, insight & discussion from the expert panel - @ASE_Global's chairman @mikejonesase, Luscombe Motor's @RobinLuscombe & Auto Trader's head of new car, Sue Fish. Register for free here: https://t.co/0FJeYOFhfj https://t.co/GKnoJKJQiz
Data from the @SMMT shows an 11.3% year-on-year growth in new car registrations in July. Registrations for year currently stand at 828,389, down 41.9% year on year. Find out more about selling brand new cars and vans on Auto Trader https://t.co/9pnuyRUMQI #atinsightoftheday https://t.co/0XltI7iOqO

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