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SUV gains may spell the death of the estate

Used car buyers are turning their backs on the estate car in favour of the SUV, according to the latest data.

CAP assessed the most popular used vehicles aged two to three years old, according to how fast they sell.

In 2016, MPVs were the fastest-selling body type, spending an average of 33 days in stock. They were closely followed by SUVs at 34 days and hatchbacks (Lower Medium) at 35.

All three types took six days fewer to sell in 2016 than in 2015 as dealers successfully grapple with faster stock turn.  At the other end of the scale, vehicles in both the Luxury

Executive and Sports segments spent longer in stock in 2016.

Overall, CAP’s average days in stock fell from 41 days in 2015 to 36 days in 2016, which was in line with it being a record year for used sales, with 7.7 million forecast.

Auto Trader’s 2016 data for two- to three-year-old vehicles reveals a different result, with saloons fastest to sell, at 45.8 average days in stock, followed by 46.6 for MPV and 46.7 for hatchback. It did not have data from previous years to make a comparison.

However, based on pageviews, Auto Trader said the hatchback remained the most popular style of car for the third year running. The SUV moved up the rankings from third place in 2014 and 2015 to second in 2016. data for all used vehicles regardless of age also showed hatchback as the most popular body style for all three years. Estate held on to second place in all three years and MPV (People Carrier) was knocked out of third place in 2014 by SUV, which has held the position since. Sales of SUV (4x4) increased in 2016, reflecting changing tastes among motorists. Estate was the fastest-selling body type in 2016, at 34.2 days.

Philip Nothard, retail and consumer specialist at Cap HPI said: “The explosion of the crossover, as consumer’s appetite for a lifestyle vehicle grows, could see demand wane for the estate car.”


    Ad views 2014      Ad views 2015      Ad views 2016
Hatchback  38.0%   37.8%  37.4%
Saloon  14.3%  13.5%  14.0%
SUV  11.7%  13.2%  15.2%

*used stock aged 24-36 months viewed on Auto Trader

SUV gaining on hatchback volumes

Hatchbacks remained the largest percentage  of the volume trade sector, according to CAP figures. However, SUV has made significant gains. Over the past three years, volume has doubled in the £5,000-£10,000 price band and it is dominating the £20,000+ market with 49% of overall trade volumes.

Nothard said: “It was the year of the SUV, which moved up from fifth in 2014 to second in 2016 by sales volume.

“Dealers need to ensure they understand consumer behaviours and evolve stock dynamics to meet daily market changes. The market dynamics in 2014, in many cases, are very different today – consumers’ aspirations are changing.

“The coming year will see the focus and investment in the SUV/crossover sector continue. Within each sector, hybrids and alternative fuels will be an area of growth, as government intervention and zero/low-emission zones could impact.”

Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader retailer and consumer products director, said: “Nationally, we’ll continue to see the hatchback and the SUV drive sales, but what dealers really need to focus on is what’s in demand at a regional level.

“Success in 2017 will be determined by those that use data to inform their stocking policies and those who price in line with the live retail market.”


Saloon sees biggest price increase

Despite being the most popular, hatchback’s share of Auto Trader ad views dropped slightly, from 38% in 2014 to 37.4% in 2016. Meanwhile, SUV ad views climbed slowly, but steadily, from 11.7% in 2014 to 15.2% in 2016.

The average price of hatchback and saloon increased over the past three years, according to Auto Trader. The average hatchback was priced at £9,636 in 2016, up almost £300 on 2014’s average price. The saloon saw the biggest gains of almost £2,000 over the three years. However, the SUV, having gained in value by £800 from 2014 to 2015, fell from an average price of £23,752 in 2015 to £23,189 in 2016.

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