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.