Press release

Average used car prices reach record high in November

  • Prices reach record high, but rate of growth continues to slow across all fuel types
  • Diesel remains most popular on Auto Trader, accounting for 48% of fuel related searches

At a time when the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) announced the value of used cars financed by dealers at the point of sale surged 14 per cent[1], and volume up 8 per cent, the average price of a used car reached a record £12,967 in November. That’s the findings from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index, which combines and analyses data from c. 500,000 trade used car listings every day, as well as additional dealer forecourt and website data to provide the most accurate reflection of the live retail market.

The record high was mirrored across the various fuel types tracked by the Index. The average price of a used petrol vehicle last month was £11,202, the highest rate recorded, as was both the £20,828 average price for alternatively fuelled vehicles[2] (AFVs) and the £19,978 for pure electric vehicles (EV). The average sticker price for a used diesel was £14,630, which was just £73 less than October’s record high of £14,556.   

However, the Index revealed that the rate of growth has been steadily slowing across the board. The average price of a used car recorded an annual increase of 4 per cent in November, which marks the lowest increase since August 2017. Year-on-year (YoY) growth reached a peak of 7 per cent in June this year but has been slowing each subsequent month.

It reflects a similar trend seen across the fuel types, with diesel reaching a peak (6 per cent) in July 2018 but gradually slowing to 4 per cent in November, whilst petrol’s rate of growth decelerated even more significantly, from 11 per cent in December 2017, to just 4 per cent last month. AFVs have also been gradually slowing since December, from 9 per cent to 4 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Director of Commercial Products, said: “At circa 35 per cent, finance currently accounts for a relatively small proportion of purchases in the used car market. However, as the latest industry results highlight, as the average cost of used cars increase, the more vital finance is becoming in the second-hand buying journey. With the average three-year new car cycle fuelling the market, finance enables consumers to buy younger, more desirable and crucially, more expensive second-hand cars.

 Making the financing of used cars more competitive, accessible and easier to understand for buyers will be a crucial step in taking advantage of this opportunity. In an industry where there is increasing competition and complexity, it’s vital that retailers give themselves the very best chance of success; getting finance right will unquestionably be key to unlocking growth in the used car market in 2019.”

November 2016 (£)

November 2017 (£)

November 2018 (£)

Year-on-Year growth (%)

Used car (total)

£11,213

£12,589

£12,967

4.42%

Petrol

£8,721

£10,342

£11,202

4.44%

Diesel

£13,557

£14,412

£14,630

4.45%

Electric

£15,202

£15,806

£20,981

11.94%

AFV (collective for all AFVs)

£18,279

£20,569

£20,828

3.92%

Diesel retains title for most popular fuel type on Auto Trader

 With 55 million multi-platform visits each month[3], an audience four times larger than its closest competitor, Auto Trader is the UK’s largest automotive marketplace for new and used cars, offering an unparalleled view of the nation’s consumer buying behaviour. ‘Searched for’ data revealed that despite tumbling new car registrations[4], diesels remain the most popular fuel type on Auto Trader, accounting for 48[5] per cent of all fuel related searched that took place in November. 46 per cent of searches were for petrol, and 7 per cent were for AFVs.

November

2017 (%)

October

2018 (%)

November

2018 (%)

Petrol

41%

45%

46%

Diesel

54%

48%

48%

Electric

4%

7%

7%

AFV

1%

1%

1%

 About the Retail Price Index

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.

[1] Finance and Leasing Association November 2018

[2] Combines electric, bi-fuel, hybrid diesel/electric plug-in, hybrid diesel/electric, hybrid, hybrid petrol/electric, hybrid petrol/electric plug-in, and petrol ethanol.

[3] ComScore MMX® Multi-Platform, Total Audience, Auto Trader, Average of Total Visits from Apr- Sept 2018, U.K.

[4] Society of Motor manufacturers and Traders, November 2018

[5] Rounded up to the nearest whole number

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