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Diesel cars still UK’s fastest selling used cars, Aston Barclay tells BVRLA

Aston Barclay’s chief customer officer Martin Potter  addresses the BVRLA's Residual Value and Remarketing Committee meeting

Diesel cars remain the UK’s fastest selling used cars and continue to buck the trend of declining values, Aston Barclay has told the BVRLA.

Despite record prices at fuel forecourts diesel vehicles sell in an average of 9.2 days, according to the remarketing provider, and account for 43% of stock passing through its auction halls.

May also delivered a 2.6% (£221) rise in diesel car values, to £8,491, as the average age fell from 98.8 to 94.7 months and average mileage from 83,862 to 80,987 miles.

Electric vehicle (EV) prices have also reached a new all-time high, at £31,420, a rise of £3,340 from Q1 with an average age and mileage of 22.4 months and 15,664 miles.

However, EVs are currently the slowest-selling fuel type at 14.2 days.

Aston Barclay shared its outlook on the used car market with BVRLA members this week in the association’s first physical Residual Value and Remarketing Committee meeting since before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Earlier this week Cap HPI’s director of valuations Derren Martin suggested that used car supply constraints were the only thing keeping the sector from a “bloodbath” of falling prices as the cost-of-living crisis begins to impact demand.

Aston Barclay’s chief customer officer Martin Potter believes the UK’s used car sector will experience a gentle price fall rather than a market price crash.

“There is a shortage of retail demand currently and this could continue to the end of the year, but we do not predict a dramatic fall in prices as the market remains short of used stock,” Potter said.

“Ex-fleet stock in particular remains in short supply and rental companies continue to buy rather than sell used vehicles at auction.

“We anticipate the market continuing at its ‘new normal’ which in cases of the fleet market means prices are still £4-5,000 higher than they were in Q1 2021.”

Over 50 BVRLA members, who met at Aston Barclay’s Wakefield auction site, heard that used fleet car prices fell £367 from Q1 (-2.3%) to the end of May an average of £15,307 at 41 months and 32,729 miles.

A third of leasing fleets remain on extension which suggests there will be no large stock volumes coming back into auction during 2022 and 2023, Aston Barclay said.

Among the market segments defying the current value declines, however, the late and low (less than 24 months old), old part exchange (78-125 months) and budget part exchange (126+ months), which rose 1.5%, 0.6% and 4.3% to £23,623, £5,704, and £2,139 month-on-month.

Aston Barclay's data aligns with the findings of research commissioned by leading warranty provider WMS Group, which found that cost-conscious car buyers are opting for older, higher mileage cars as household incomes become increasing stretched.

CarShop chief executive Nigel Hurley told AM’s recent AM General Managers’ Guide to ‘Holding the Right Stock’ webinar – which can now be viewed on-demand – that his car supermarket group was working hard to prepare high volumes of older, more affordable vehicles for sale in response to the squeeze on available stock.

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