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MPVs & 4x4s replace upper and lower-medium models as family car of choice

The data shows that used car sales fell in the second quarter 2014, with upper and lower-medium vehicle seeing the biggest fall but continued demand for MPVs and 4x4s.

The research found that sales fell by 3% compared to the same quarter last year – from 1,804,871 in Q2 2013 to 1,743,715 in Q2 2014. 

Within this small overall reduction, MPVs and 4x4s were the only car segments to experience in an increase in sales in the quarter, rising by 3% and 2.6% respectively compared to Q2 2013. 

Key highlights from Experian’s used car data show: 

  • The biggest fall in sales came from upper and lower medium vehicles, with a 6% fall in each of these categories compared to the same period last year. 
  • Superminis remain the most popular used car, but still saw a decrease in sales of 1.6%.
  • The focus for used car buyers was on newer used car models, aged up to three years old, as this was the only age group to see a slight increase in sales, rising by just over 1%.
  • Fuel economy and environmental factors continued to play a key role as sales of used electric cars increased by a significant 24% and sales of used hybrid cars increased by just over 4%.
  • Sales of used diesel cars increased by nearly 2% in Q2 2014 compared to Q2 2013. 
  • Greater London saw the biggest increase in sales of used electric cars – a 67% rise compared to Q2 2013.  The region also saw a 34% increase in sales of hybrid used cars over the same period. 
  • Drivers in Yorkshire & Humberside and the East Midlands have been slower to be convinced of the benefits of going electric and have seen the smallest increases in electric and hybrid used car sales – 4% in Yorkshire & Humberside and 6% in East Midlands. 
  • Similarly, used hybrid car sales increased by just under 2% in Yorkshire & Humberside and 10% in the East Midlands.

Andrew Ballard, principal consultant for Experian’s Automotive business, said: ‘Car sales are seasonal and used cars have availability considerations as well as demand, so the very slight 0.4% decline in sales figures in Q2 compared to the previous quarter is not a surprise as people can tend to replace their cars at the beginning of the year.

‘What is evident, however, is that the demand for MPV and 4x4s is continuing to grow each quarter. For many people these cars fulfil the need for safer, larger family cars as well and being a lifestyle choice. For others, a 4×4 is a statement car with a much wider range of smaller more affordable models being produced that are now finding their way into the used market. Understanding where the demand is in the country and what the needs of those car buyers are will help organisations have more meaningful conversations with their customers.’ 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.