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Declining diesel car demand drives £2,750 value shift towards petrol

John Mitchell, Autorola UK

A price rise of 15.5% during 2018 propelled petrol-powered used cars to record levels, according to online remarketing specialist Autorola.

The value of the average petrol vehicle sold via Autorola rose £1,392 to £10,370 through the course of last year despite the average age and mileage of stock remaining consistent at 31 months and 18,000 miles.

Autorola said that the result “brings to focus the incredible growth in demand for used petrols during a single year”, some of which may have been driven by the introduction of WLTP in September 2018.

Diesel-powered vehicles experienced a 12.2% decline through the year, falling £1,364 from £11,158 to £12,522, meanwhile, further highlighting the effects of anti-diesel rhetoric on consumer demand.

“Overall the used market performance in 2018 was very strong. Petrol prices rose every quarter to a record high and dealers are definitely looking to source more used petrol cars to satisfy demand from consumers,” said Jon Mitchell, Autorola UK’s group sales director.

Mitchell claimed that used diesel demand had also remained constant in the remarketing sector, however, particularly in the SUV and 4x4 sectors where diesel is still the preferred fuel of choice from consumers.

He said: “In 2019 we believe used demand will remain strong as dealers continue to invest more money and time in growing this area of their businesses.

“However, prices may start to flat line as the market has seen constant price growth over the past two years and we don’t believe this can continue forever.”

Earlier this week the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that the registrations of new diesel-powered vehicles declined by 29.6% in 2018, with the volume loss equivalent to some 180% of the overall market’s decline.

The SMMT asserted that diesels are, on average, 15 to 20% more efficient than petrol equivalents and so have a substantial role to play in addressing climate change, predicting a possible future resurgence in sales.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “Supportive, not punitive measures are needed to grow sales, because replacing older cars with new technologies, whether diesel, petrol, hybrid or plug-in, is good for the environment, the consumer, the industry and the exchequer.”


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