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Shift towards petrols is ‘inevitable’ for used car market, warns VRA

The used car market needs to start factoring in a forthcoming market shift to petrols to ensure the downturn in diesel demand is managed.

Fuel pump

Used car market needs to anticipate a downturn in diesel demand, warns the Vehicle Remarketing Association

So says the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) as it predicts that a shift from used car buyers away from diesel towards petrol is “inevitable” despite a time lag compared to the new car market.

Diesel dropped to around a third of new car registrations in the UK in January, even taking second place even among fleets, despite a much slower rate of decline, according to the latest SMMT data. The downturn in demand follows months of speculation over the diesel tax rises eventually announced in the Autumn Budget as well as ongoing air quality plans.

Although a number of remarketing giants have published latest data showing a continued appetite for diesels in the used car market, the VRA says rising petrol car registrations – which were up 8.5% in January in the overall new car market – will bring used buyers more of a choice and impact on diesel demand.

Glenn Sturley, chair at the VRA, said the association did not foresee any collapse in diesel values but that there would be a gradual realignment over time.
“Our view – shared across the industry – is that diesels will remain a very attractive choice for used car buyers because of their economy and reliability. Plus, Euro 5 and especially Euro 6 diesels are unlikely to encounter any emissions legislation problems.”

He also warned that the used car market would need to ensure that the advantages of diesels are positively promoted and said that such vehicles would need to be presented in the best possible condition and with a full history.

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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.