Press release

Auto Trader Retail Price Index | October 2019

Supply and demand factors are causing used diesels to hold their value better than petrol counterparts, says Auto Trader

  • The average used car price was £13,263 in October
  • Year-on-year like-for-like prices have declined by -3.2%
  • Year-on-year like-for-like prices of petrol vehicles dropped by - 4.6%

According to the Auto Trader Retail Price Index, which is based on circa 1.9 million price observations, the average price of a used car in October was £13,263, up from £13,096 in September.

However, after removing the impact of stock mix and changes in the types of vehicle entering or leaving the market, like-for-like advertised prices contracted -3.2% year-on-year. The overall decline was driven by a fall in diesel and petrol prices, which recorded a like-for-like dip of -0.7% and -4.6% respectively, with an average price of £14,421 and £11,872.

Supply and demand have been significant factors in affecting the disparity in the prices. The average sticker price of a nearly new diesel car, up to a year old, increased +1.8% like-for-like in October, whilst used petrol prices fell a significant -9.2%.  Currently[1], on the Auto Trader marketplace, there are just 51,336 used diesel cars registered from 2018, compared to 88,714 petrol of the same age - 73% more.

Electric prices remain buoyant

The average price of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), and in particular, pure electric, remain far higher than their traditionally fuelled counterparts. On a like-for-like basis the average price of an AFV increased +5.6% in October, whilst the rate of growth of electric vehicles (EV) was +22.1%; a respective average sticker price of £21,815 and £24,910. Although the cost of a used ultra-low emission car remains high, October marked the lowest rate of growth since May 2019 (+34.7%).

Karolina Edwards-Smadja, Director of Commercial Products at Auto Trader, explains, Although like-for-like prices continue to contract, the overall average price remains stable as a result of considerable change in the mix and profile of stock in the used car market, such as more expensive SUVs and low emission vehicles.

Whilst the rate of growth of low emission vehicles is slowing, albeit marginally, their average price continues to far outstrip their used ICE counterparts. As we’ve seen elsewhere in the market, prices are being heavily influenced by supply and demand. This month the Renault ZOE was the first pure EV to claim the title as both the fastest and second-fastest selling used car in the UK. We’ve also seen searches for pure EVs increase 46% on our marketplace since October 2018. Clearly, there is demand, however, with EVs representing just 1% of used cars aged up to three years on our marketplace, compared to 54% for petrol, it’s unlikely we’ll see average sticker prices decrease significantly any time soon.”   

Search volumes

Underpinning the growing demand for low emission vehicles, the percentage of fuel type searches attributed to AFVs increased to 8% in October, a record a high. Petrol cars remain the most popular, accounting for 48% of all fuel type searches, down from 49% in September. Searches for diesel cars remains flat at 43%.

[1] As of 19th November 2019

About the Auto Trader Retail Price Index

The Auto Trader Retail Price Index is published monthly and provides an overview of the latest price and search data from the Auto Trader marketplace. Auto Trader’s team of data scientists monitor over 1.9 million vehicles each day, including 90,000 vehicle updates and an average of 19,000 vehicles added or removed from Auto Trader. Coupled with data from circa 450,000 trade car listings every day, as well as additional retailer forecourts and website data (OEM, fleet and leasing disposal prices and 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.

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