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Parker's forecourt focus: Used cars: better value

There has never been a better time to buy a second-hand car. Parker’s research has revealed that used car values have dropped significantly over the past five years.

Back in 2000, a buyer would have paid £7,780 for a 1998 Vauxhall Astra 1.6LS on an S registration. Today that car on a 2003/03 registration costs £6,895, a saving of £885. And those savings increase dramatically with more prestige marques.

A 1998 S-reg BMW 318i SE saloon cost £16,520 in 2000, but today that same model on a 2003/03 plate only sets you back £14,495 – that’s a massive £2,025 saved.

Even on the best selling Land Rover Freelander, used prices have taken a major tumble with a near five grand difference over buying a two-year-old example in 2000, compared to buying a two-year-old model today.

These savings are not only great news for today’s buyers but means a shift in buying habits.

Where people traditionally aimed for a mainstream brand before, there is now the tantalizing prospect they can afford a prestige brand. It’s also no coincidence that these premier manufacturers have been producing smaller new cars that offer new entry levels to less well-heeled consumers.

Overall, it means there are now an even greater number of choices facing the car shopper, an extended range of places they can buy the car from and a myriad of ways they can finance the deal. So it comes as no surprise that as far as the shopping experience goes, the most important factor that crops up time and again is ‘peace of mind’. They need to know they are buying a quality car from a reputable dealer at a fair price.

Providing the consumer a real menu of car choice is half the battle, but delivering a used car deal with meaningful safeguards is what the consumers will vote for with their money.

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