Premium cars in demand despite rising fuel prices, says Glass's
According to Glass's, when pump prices hit a then-record high in July 2008, there was a considerable impact on prices achieved for less fuel-efficient used car models.
Yet although fuel prices are now exceeding the average 120 pence per litre charged for unleaded petrol two years ago, the effects on the used car market are not being seen, with the prestige 4×4 sector showing a particular price resilience.
Whilst the value of a typical family car has risen by at least 2% since January, large 4x4s have registered a rise of twice this amount. Also faring well during this period are luxury cars and supercars, which have followed the upward trend of family cars.
The absence of an adverse reaction to record-breaking petrol prices can be put down to several factors, according to Glass’s managing editor, Adrian Rushmore. 'Firstly, there is less of the "feel-bad" factor that pervaded the economy and the market in the summer of 2008. Back then there was also an added buying disincentive in the shape of the large VED increases planned for the following April and plentiful used car supply. And fuel prices have been rising more slowly in recent months compared to the dramatic increases seen two years ago. This suggests that the current high price of petrol may, so far, not have appeared on the radar of many motorists, or they are simply ignoring it.'
However, with further fuel price rises a possibility, especially if VAT is increased and a duty hike is introduced in a snap post-election Budget, fleets may see used car buyers giving more consideration to pump prices, said Glass's, although it added that it wasn't expecting to see much of an impact on the used car market.
Mr Rushmore concluded: 'Even though we expect used car buyers to choose more fuel-efficient cars in future, we are not predicting the demise of the large 4×4, luxury, and supercar sectors. These cars are not necessarily the principal method of transport and could represent the second or even third car in the family fleet. So the desire for ownership will remain high, and relatively low annual mileage will minimise the impact of high petrol prices.'