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Used car market focus: Is green really the colour?

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Review

Having attended the London Motor Show there is no doubt the drive for green motoring alternatives is gathering momentum.

We may be a long way from all driving electric cars and currently lack the infrastructure to fully support alternative fuels, but the motor industry certainly seems more focused on green motoring than ever before.

The specialist ‘electric vehicle village’ was a real eye-opener and the interest from attendees certainly justified the space it was afforded.

It will be fascinating to see how these vehicles perform in the remarketing arena in the years ahead, because – thanks to high fuel costs and the credit crunch – demand is on the rise for alternative fuels.

The latest BCA figures show average values for hybrid/electric and LPG-powered cars are well ahead of expected guide prices – and have been for much of 2008.

Values from the Pulse report show that the small number of LPG vehicles entered for sale have consistently outperformed guide prices.

Comparative average values for LPG cars cleared 115% of CAP Clean in June, for vehicles that are four-and-a-half years old and have covered nearly 70,000 miles.

May’s figures were nearly as strong, averaging more than 110% of CAP Clean. Look at some individual models and average values can be astounding – five-year-old Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 LS Saloon Bi-Fuel models are averaging 154% of CAP Clean at 66,000 miles.

Demand is also high for hybrid electric/petrol cars such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Prius, and average prices on BCA’s Auction View service are again well ahead of Cap Clean values.

Admittedly, one factor that ties all these alternative-fuelled models together is their scarcity but there still has to be demand to record such strong values.

Future demand in the used market for ‘greener cars’ will depend on the availability of these vehicles and the development of a supporting infrastructure, so for now it is ‘watch this space’.

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