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New car buyers seek used models to avoid semiconductor delays

Almost a third (31%) of in-market used car buyers were originally planning to buy a brand-new vehicle, according to a new What Car? study.

This is an increase of 7% since June, when What Car? first issued the same set of questions.

Consumers are increasingly seeking used models as a result of the long lead times currently associated with new cars due to the global semiconductor shortage.

Some new cars are expected to be delayed by up to a year as manufacturers struggle to source the much-needed computer chips.

The influx of buyers to the used market has caused stock issues for used dealers however, with 67% of used buyers telling What Car? they are finding it hard to find the right used car for them. Half of the used buyers surveyed also said they had seen prices increase for models they were interested in.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “The microchip shortage is causing a substitution effect in the new and used car market, with new car buyers increasingly switching to the used market in search for better deals and availability.

“The consequence of this has been increased upwards pressure on used prices, as well as stock limitations for some dealers, which in return is making it harder for some used buyers to find the right car. It’s a negative cycle which can only be expected to ease once the microchip shortage is resolved.”

Used car inventory levels have fallen by 7.2% in the last month, forcing prices up by 21% when compared to last year.

What Car? found that 39% of new car buyers had been informed by dealers of possible delays to vehicle orders, while 51% said they are finding it harder than before to find the right new model.

The majority (57%) of new car buyers purchasing from dealer stock told What Car? they expect to have their vehicle delivered within eight weeks, while 98% of those buying to their specification wanted their next car delivered within 16 weeks. If expected waiting times for new car buyers couldn’t be met, 41% said they would look for stock elsewhere.

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