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How dealers can increase profits from their used car operations

Analysing the 2013 Used Car Market Report

Used car sales hit 7.1 million units in 2012, outpacing new car sales by climbing 6.4% and returning to pre-recession levels, according to figures from the BCA Used Car Market Report.


Professor Peter Cooke, the author of the report, told delegates that the used car market reached a record high in terms of value in 2012, at £38.1bn, outperforming the total new car market value by £5.8bn.

In particular, sales of younger used cars (0-2 years) increased significantly, rising by 18.6% to 762,000 and reversing a three-year trend of falling volumes in this age sector.

Cooke said lower inflation, lower fuel costs, rising employment and a more stable economy helped to restore car buyers’ confidence somewhat in 2012.

However, the long-term impact of the fall in new car sales during and immediately following the recession can still be seen, with the average age of vehicles on UK roads reaching a 30-year high at 7.59 years.

There has also been a 5% rise in households without a car, with London recording a 12% increase in ‘no-car’ families.

In terms of sales, dealers continue to dominate the used car market, accounting for 57.2% of all used cars sold and representing a massive 74.4% of the total market value.

Dealers sold 4.07m used cars last year, a rise of 8.9%. Reflecting the changing age profile of the used car market, there was a greater focus on older used cars to mitigate the uncertain supply of younger vehicles.

Dealer sales of six-to-eight-year-old cars continued to grow in 2012, up 125,000 units (11.1%) to 1.25m, while more cars aged over nine years were sold by motor retailers last year than cars aged less than two years.

Next page: The online used car consumer journey

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