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Used car prices still stable, says Auto Trader

Underlying demand from car buyers is still robust, despite the closure of retailer forecourts across the country.

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s data and insight director

That’s according to Auto Trader, which says its data shows used car prices remain stable and that consumers are poised to buy their next car when lockdown lifts.

In the midst of the global pandemic, the Auto Trader Retail Price Index indicates that like-for-like prices remain flat at -0.2%, at £13,601.

Further analysis shows all fuel types saw a small like-for-like dip in sticker prices last month, with the exception of petrol, which recorded a small growth of 0.5% (£12,354). Diesels declined 1.2% (£14,485), while used prices alternatively fuelled vehicles fell 1.4% (£22,044). Pure electric vehicles recorded the sharpest decline at 3.8% (£25,727).

Figures published by Cap HPI at the end of March indicate there has been some pressure on trade values however, with figures down 2.2% and showing a much steeper decline in the second half of the month compared to the first as the lockdown measures came into force.

Auto Trader said its data also indicates that there is still interest from used car buyers, despite the closures at retailers, as there has been an increase in engagement across its platform. Over the last week of March, there was an overwhelming number of vehicles ‘saved’ – vehicle adverts saved as a favourite choice – an increase of 8% compared with the same period last year. In addition, data for March reported a very high advert view per user session number, meaning that Auto Trader visitors are viewing more adverts per visit than normal.

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s data and insight director, said: “There’s no question the industry is facing a huge pressure, but to ensure we can return to health as quickly as possible; we urge retailers to resist the temptation to reduce prices. Many of our indicators suggest the market is capable of picking back up almost where we left off before the Covid-19 pandemic shook the industry, and we must be ready for when the government restrictions lift.”

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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.