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Q1 2019 used car market remained ‘unscathed’ despite economic challenges

Q1 2019 used car market remained ‘unscathed’ despite economic challenges

The used car market has remained relatively unscathed during Q1 2019 despite the challenges faced by the UK economy according to Aston Barclay’s latest Used Market Insights Report.

While new car registrations fell by 2.4% (Jan-to-March), the biggest changes within the used sector were the Q1 price reductions within the late and low and fleet sectors; as well as prices for hybrid/EVs reaching an all-time high.

Late and low average prices reduced by £1,005 in Q1 to £14,243, compared to Q4 2018’s record high of £15,248, mainly to right themselves against the highly competitive new car offers leading up to the March plate change.

Despite the price reduction, year-on-year values were up by £896 (6.7%).

The fleet market too has shown the first signs of the contract extensions caused by the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) introduction last September – with average age and mileage up by 0.7 months to 42.5 months and 9.8% to 54,013 miles respectively.

This has caused prices to fall by £486 quarter-on-quarter to £9,523, however, year-on-year fleet prices are still up by a healthy 3.5% (£325).

Meanwhile, hybrid/EVs reached an all-time average high price of £13,736 during Q1 2019 with demand in the trade and consumer markets notably increasing. Both diesel and petrol prices fell quarter-on-quarter during Q1 to £7,501 and £4,206 respectively from £8,818 and £4,651 in Q4 2018.

Part exchange prices remained buoyant across all three dealer categories – young (55-78 months), older (79-126 months) and budget (126+ months) – with average prices increasing year-on-year by £462, £411 and £137 respectively.

Commenting on the findings, Martin Potter, group managing director of Aston Barclay said: “Q1 2019 has again proved the resilience of the used car market and there are further signs that EVs and hybrids are gaining in popularity, although volumes in the auction hall are still low.

“Q2 is likely to be slightly trickier for the used car market faced with the start of the bank holiday season, and the additional volume coming into the wholesale market from a strong March plate-change which traditionally causes pressure on pricing.”

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