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Consumer preference between new and used cars is ‘neck and neck’, says Close Brothers

Close Brothers Motor Finance’s director of sales Sean Kemple

Consumers’ preference between new and used cars is neck and neck as Britain Under the Bonnet report shows a 1% difference.

The report, from research commissioned by Close Brothers Motor Finance, shows that 41% of consumers will opt for a second-hand car as their next vehicle purchase, while 42% intend on buying a new one.

Around one in five (17%) say they are undecided on what to purchase next.

When comparing these findings to 2017, the number of people intent on purchasing a new car is down by 5%.

Close Brothers Motor Finance’s director of sales Sean Kemple (pictured) said: “While new and used cars are neck and neck, used cars have the slight edge highlighting that the desire for new vehicles still exists - but only just.

"This is something that had been widely predicted to happen. Earlier this year we saw the UK’s six-year ‘golden period’ of new car sales coming to an end as it hit an inflection point, resulting in a gradual consumer shift from new to old vehicles.”

Those who plan on buying a used car has jumped by 21%. The company said this is reflected in the latest used car statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which showed that the used car market had a strong second quarter, with over 2 million used cars sold.

Kemple said: With five years of consecutive year on-year growth, and a record number of new cars on the road, a natural consequence was the greater availability of ‘nearly- new’-used vehicles.

"If the decline in new car sales is expected to continue in the months ahead, it would seem only natural that many consumers would flock instead to the excess of “nearly-new” used vehicles available on the market.”

There is also a clear divide in attitudes towards new and used cars across UK regions. Those in the East Midlands (29%) are the least likely to purchase a new car compared to a used one (53%).

In comparison, those based in London/Greater London are most likely to purchase a new car (64%), they are also one of the least likely groups to purchase a second-hand vehicle (27%).



Used car

New car

North East England



North West England



Yorkshire and the Humber



East Midlands



West Midlands



East of England



London and Greater London



South East England



South West England









Northern Ireland




There’s also a clear gender difference when it comes to the attitudes when it comes to new and used cars. Half of men (49%) opt for a new car as their next vehicle purchase, compared to just a third (35%) of women.

Whereas almost half (47%) of females intend on purchasing a used vehicle, compared to just over a third (35%) of men.

According to the findings, the most popular type of car purchase is petrol (40%), followed by hybrid (16%), diesel (13%) and electric (8%). In contrast, 14% of Brits are still undecided and 7% say they’re not sure because the options are too confusing.

The full report can be read online 


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