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Used car searches shows increase in consumer confidence

More people are searching for used luxury cars, executive models and 4x4s, according to statistics from Auto Trader.

The luxury segment saw the highest spike in searches between September to November 2013, with a 4.1% increase. The executive segment saw a 3.3% increase, while 4x4s saw a 3% increase in interest.

This is in contrast to the city car segment which saw a 5% drop in searches and superminis which saw a slight drop of 1.1% drop.

More than 8% of all stock advertised on Auto Trader is a 4x4, and a quarter of these are Land Rovers. The biggest profits come from the Porsche Cayenne, which makes an average of more than £5,000 on each model sold.

However, sellers must be patient: Auto Trader data also reveals that Cayennes take longer to sell than any other 4x4 - an average of more than 65 days.

In November, two of the three models showing the biggest month-on-month gains in total searches were premium 4x4s, the Range Rover Sport and BMW X5.

But in overall volumes the BMW 3 Series, VW Golf and Ford Focus dominated the top three spots, as they had in each preceding month of 2013.

Jonathan Williams, Auto Trader marketing director, said: “While the rise in 4x4 searches towards the end of the year can be seen as a seasonal phenomenon, the corresponding surge in luxury and executive car searches does suggest consumer confidence has returned to the market.

“Looking ahead in 2014, stock levels for all models under three years old are likely to remain low, following the dip in new car sales during the recession.

“That means used car prices will remain high for some time as demand continues to outstrip supply. However, the return to new car sales growth last year may ease price pressure as the year progresses and more nearly new stock comes onto the market."

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