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Demand for used cars increases as lockdown restrictions tighten

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Demand for used cars has risen 15% year-on-year as franchised retailers experience a decline in sales of new cars, according to AA Cars data.

Interest in used cars spiked to 9.1% above pre-pandemic levels when forecourts re-opened in June, but demand has continued to pick up, the research showed.

AA Cars analysed searches made on its platform in September for used vehicles in 48 UK towns and cities.

Searches on the AA Car platform in September were on average 4% higher than they were in June, with some areas such as Glasgow, seeing demand increased by almost a third (32.2%).

Crawley saw the biggest increase in demand, where searches had doubled in comparison to last year.

James Fairclough, the chief executive of AA Cars, said: “The sustained increase in demand since the summer is positive news for the used car market, which endured a big decline in sales during lockdown.

“The used car market continues to offer an enormous amount of choice to drivers at all price points, and changes in commuting habits may be leading more people to purchase a car so they can avoid public transport.

The sale of new cars fell by 4.4% in September in comparison to the same month in 2019.

Fairclough said: “The range of affordable cars on the second-hand market means that drivers who need a new or replacement vehicle, but also have concerns about job security or the state of the economy, can easily find one to suit their budget.”

The UK’s consumer car finance market grew 1% by volume and 8% by value during August, according to new data from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA).

Top 10 areas with the biggest increase in searches from September 2019 to September 2020

Town/city

% change in searches in Sept 2020 compared to Sept 2019

% change in searches in Sept 2020 compared to June 2020

Crawley

102.30%

26.50%

Glasgow

96.70%

32.20%

Cardiff

70.60%

21.40%

Cheltenham

63.90%

12.50%

Bournemouth

52.00%

-2.20%

Preston

51.80%

34.60%

Mansfield

51.30%

29.00%

Kingston upon Hull

48.70%

8.50%

Sheffield

38.40%

3.50%

Basingstoke

34.40%

0.20%

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