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Sellers lose up to £7bn when selling used cars, according to Motorway

Vauxhall part exchange

Research by Motorway has revealed that motorists in Britain lose up to £7 billion when selling their cars, whilst 69% of adults would be willing to sell their car for less than it’s worth.

Motorway said in a survey of 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ who have sold their car in the last five years, on average 54% of respondents sold their car for less than they believe it’s worth, averaging at £977 under the market value.

With 7.5 million UK used car transactions made in 2021, there’s a potential of £7.3275 billion to be lost, said Motorway.

The research found that, three quarters (76%) of Brits find the process of selling their car daunting and seven out of ten (70%) are knowingly compromising on cash for a quick sale.

Yet a recent survey for AM by our sister brand Parkers found that two-thirds of consumers prefer to part-exchange their car, while a quarter would sell privately and the smallest group would use a car sales service such as Carwow, Motorway or WeBuyAnyCar.

These findings on consumers' used car disposal habits follow after data from wholesale and retail used car values data providers has indicated “signs of a market correction” - but hopes remain that any market decline will be minor.

Earlier this month remarketing giant BCA reported that its auctions had seen a 5.9% decline in used car prices during March and Indicata’s data showed a 1.9% decline in Q1 as a whole.

While the car retail sector faces a “perfect storm” of economic and political headwinds as UK inflation hits 7%, Cox Automotive said it anticipates a further decline in values throughout the second quarter and possibly into Q3.

Almost half of respondents to Motorway's survey (49%) are likely to have lost money when selling their car as they failed to make small repairs such as buying new floor mats, changing the oil, Motorway said.

The research found other common oversights and issues include not having an up-to-date service history (14%), not having their car valued before sale (12%) and struggling with paperwork (10%).

Seven-in-10 drivers admitted putting off selling their car due to ‘the hassle’, and 64% said they ‘felt ripped off’ when they sold their vehicle.

The biggest desires when selling were getting the highest price, a speedy sale and minimising the effort required.

When selling their car, only 14% felt ‘very confident’ they got a good price, with an acceptance by 69% that they would be willing to take an offer less than market value to make the process easier.

62% admit they regret rushing to sell cars in the past because they received less money for them as a result.

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