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Sainsbury's Bank: car buyers switching from new to used

Sainsbury's Bank's latest Car Buying Index indicates that some 6.44 million people plan to buy a car between now and next February 2004, and will spend an average of £7,167.

Findings from Sainsbury's Bank's latest Car Buying Index, which tracks the number of people planning to purchase a vehicle on a six-monthly basis, indicate that some 6.44 million people plan to buy a car between now and next February 2004, and will spend in total £46 billion, or an average of £7,167 each. Around a quarter of this, some £11.27 billion, will be financed through loans. 60% of car buyers expect to buy their next car from a dealer.

The bank's previous index findings, which covered March-August 2003, indicated the same volume of intended purchases, but suggested the average price paid would be would be higher at £8,116, or collectively £52 billion, with slightly less, 22% of purchases, likely to be financed through loans.

Steven Baillie, Loans Manager, Sainsbury's Bank said: “There are two main reasons for a potential decline in expenditure, the first being a fall in car prices. Two years ago used cars were around 20% more expensive, and prices for new vehicles in June 2003 were 1.3% lower than 12 months earlier.

“The second reason is that more motorists are planning to buy second hand cars as opposed to brand new ones. Findings from the previous index revealed that 60% of motorists who intended to purchase a car said it would be second hand whereas the corresponding figure for the next six months is 66%.”

The latest Sainsbury's Bank research indicates that between now and February, 4.25 million people intend to purchase a used hand car while 1.67 million intend to buy new. A further 322,000 intend to purchase a pre-registered vehicle and 257,000 have yet to decide what type of car they will buy.

The bank's national consumer sample indicates the East Midlands has the highest proportion of intending car buyers – 21% - compared to only 2% in East Anglia and 8% in the South West. By value, the volume of intended car purchase is highest in London, at £6.256 billion, which compares to only £339.48 million in East Anglia.

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