Cox Automotive has said that sales of used diesel vehicles have continued to contrast those of new diesel cars, despite a year-on-year price rise less than a third of those attracted by petrol counterparts.
The remarketing specialist’s physical auction business, Manheim, recorded a third consecutive annual rise in average prices, reaching an average of £7,158 – an increase of nearly 12% year-on-year – as overall volumes declines by 6.71% through the month.
And a statement issued by the group behind online remarketing platform Dealer Auction and stock funding specialist Nextgear Capital insisted that appetite for used diesel in the wholesale market continued to “contrast sharply with the new car market” despite values at auction increasing by a lesser 5.95% in February (£9,046 in 2018 vs. £8,538 in 2017).
A significant growth in demand for petrol vehicles, meanwhile, generated double-digit growth of 20.05% year-on-year to £5,126 (£4,270 in 2017) at Manheim’s auctions.
Philip Nothard, Cox Automotive’s head of external communications, said: "Our data shows that the only category where petrol values didn't grow was the £10k to £20k mileage band, which is where we've seen diesel excel. Petrol vehicles in this band dipped 1.38% to £13,415 in 2018, which is down from £13,603 in 2017."
Manheim saw the average mileage of its used cars follow a downward trend, shifting from 59,065 in January 2018 to 57,898 in February and overall volumes were also down (6.71%), with an exception in the 10k to 20k mileage band at 3,517 (up 2.39% on 2017 at 3,601).
Nothard said: "We believe the dip in overall volume is down to a number of factors. Scrappage schemes, a decline in new car registrations, the trend towards consolidation creating larger retailers and the general shift among dealers to focus on used car stock are all having an impact.
"This is driving a strong wholesale market, with demand for used stock outstripping supply."
Dealer Auction, Cox Automotive’s trade-to-trade online auction platform, reported a 6% increase in vehicles sold year-on-year with the average sales value showing a 13% rise (£4,752 in 2018 vs £4,208 in 2017) during February.
NextGear Capital, Cox Automotive's wholesale stock funding business, meanwhile, saw the average cost per unit decline slightly to £7,002 in February (£7,241 in January) and the number of dealers using NextGear Capital increased from 1,387 to 1,427 in the month.
In the retail sector, figures from Cox Automotive's car search platform, Motors.co.uk, reveal year-on-year stability with a slight increase in average selling price of 0.02% (£12,425 in 2018 vs. £12,423 in 2017).
The average price of petrol vehicles on the site went up by 3.67% in February 2018 (£10,401) vs. 2017 (£10,033) and diesel started to shift downwards, falling 3.68% (£14,147 in 2018 vs. £14,687 in 2017).
Nothard said: "Overall volumes remain stable in the retail sector, with petrol volumes dipping slightly (down 0.34%) and diesel rising (up 3.90%).
"In addition, Motors.co.uk's data shows consumer demand for petrol and electric vehicles grew significantly in February. Average days in stock for petrol fell by 2.4, from 41.6 days in 2018 compared to 44 days in 2017, while the average for electric vehicles dropped by 11 days, standing at 43 days in stock in 2018 versus 54 in 2017."
Overall, February was a positive month for dealers, according to Nothard.
He said: "Many dealers are describing February as their best month ever and reporting record numbers, ending the month on a confident note.
Moving in to March, it's clear this will be a key month for dealers. Not only will there be the usual seasonal impact of Easter to contend with, but the adverse weather conditions at the start of the month are likely to take their toll."