Press release

Auto Trader Retail Price Index | May 2019

Retail prices remain buoyant in May

  • Seasonal downturn had less impact in 2019 compared with previous years
  • Used car market remains buoyant but rate of growth has slowed
  • Average price of EVs and AFVs nearly double that of ICE counterparts

Used car prices in the UK continue to grow despite Brexit and economic uncertainty, albeit the rate of growth has slowed to 0.8%, the slowest since December 2016. This continuing shift in price, which we’ve seen throughout 2019, means average sticker prices are £12,775.

The latest findings from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index show that diesel cars had the slowest growth rate in May at 0.4% and an average sticker price of £14,163. While petrol cars have seen price growth of 1%, with an average retail price of £11,174.

Meanwhile, alternative fuelled vehicles (AFVs) continue to outdo both powertrains at 4.8% growth and an average sticker price of £21,663 nearly double that of its internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. Specifically, electric vehicles (EVs) are the stand-out performer; price growth is still in double digits at 11.8%, and they continue to rise in average price, £23,771 - the highest on record.

Challenging the negative rhetoric

“There has been much rhetoric around the strength of the used car market in recent weeks, namely that prices have plummeted however, Auto Trader data tells a different story. Prices are still growing, it’s just that the rate of growth is slower than we’re accustomed to and that we’ve seen in recent months,” explains Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Director of Commercial Products.

Looking at circa three-year-old stock with around 60,000 miles on the clock, it’s clear the seasonal trend has an impact annually, driven by the March registration plate change. Month-on-month impact on price is down 3.56% which is less severe than we saw in 2018, 2017, 2012 and 2011.

Edwards-Smajda continues: “There is a clear trend every year following September and March plate change, resulting in an increase in three-year-old, 60k vehicles. The used car market has an influx of stock, often as a result of consumers trading in their car for a new one. Following the March plate change, the volume of three-year-old cars reaches its peak between March and June. This saturates the market and prices become more competitive – which is what we observed happening in May. This is part of the annual cycle, and it’s a trend we see every year.”

Searches for AFVs reaches all-time high

The number of people searching for AFVs has increased to an all-time high, with 8% of all fuel related searches on Auto Trader for the fuel type this month. Petrol has lost the share gained by AFVs, accounting for 51% of all fuel related searches. Searches for diesel remains flat at 41%.

Stock in the market

The continued surge in prices of low-emission vehicles can be attributed to supply and demand. On Auto Trader, the UK’s largest automotive digital marketplace, AFVs currently account for just 1% of stock listed, whilst petrol and diesel account for 52% and 47% respectively.

Get set for forecourts opening on Monday with our latest #GetRetailReady #infographic revealing car buyer's thoughts and expectations in the new #retail landscape. https://t.co/iEsnRun6j8 https://t.co/OPHraHWwX1
Auto Trader Highly Rated is back for 2020! Our Highly Rated Award recognises those car retailers delivering the very best in customer service. Find out when we will be announcing the 2020 Award recipients and what criteria you need to meet to qualify. https://t.co/3KF1MkqhfV https://t.co/LpmE65LbMw
Ian Plummer was invited onto @BBCNews this morning to discuss the latest manufacturing figures from the @SMMT. He took the opportunity to highlight the pent up demand in the market & all the measures #retailers have been taking to get #retailready ahead of #showrooms reopening https://t.co/uNmpEYMatT
Thanks James, kind of you to say and great to hear you've found the insight beneficial https://t.co/63vAiNfMfG
To help retailers get back to selling vehicles as quickly as possible, we're launching a new marketing campaign as well as introducing some of the biggest changes to our site in recent years designed to drive more buyers to your ads. Find out more here: https://t.co/JvfE40zohI https://t.co/dqnoP6x3G0
With showrooms set to open on Monday, we’ve put together a handy #infographic to take you through car buyers' thoughts and expectations in the new #retail landscape. https://t.co/nqvKSP6X5t https://t.co/fUhwQ9j9Fq
Thanks to everyone for joining today's #webinar and of course thank you to our guest presenters @adamjt11 and @MikeHawesSMMT. Be sure to join next week and best of luck to those opening their doors next week #retailready https://t.co/qkAmfJw5kC
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Our latest consumer #marketing campaign is designed to give consumers confidence that they can join the car buying journey again and to push the message that #automotive is back in business!
Back to Catherine to talk about how we are helping consumers to get #retailready

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