IN the wake of the recession and several periods of high fuel costs, most car buyers today seem more mindful of the cost of motoring, and this is impacting on the decisions they are making when choosing a used car. The general trend is towards smaller, more economic and fuel-efficient cars, but are motorists really getting ‘greener’?
According to the most recent BCA Used Car Market Report, motorists are keen to curtail their frontline motoring costs – with ‘better fuel consumption’ (29 per cent), ‘lower road tax’ (22 per cent) and negotiating the ‘best purchase price’ (15 per cent) being the key factors that car buyers are considering when buying their next car. The possibility of buying a ‘smaller car’, with ‘lower maintenance costs’, is also a significant factor for some prospective car buyers.
However, while the focus for the OEMs, government departments, transport planners and fleet managers may be to minimise emissions, the reality for most used car buyers is a lot more pragmatic – it often comes down to ‘what’s the best car I can buy with the budget I have available?’
Alternative fuels remain very much on the wider motoring agenda, but how are these vehicles perceived in the harsh glare of the remarketing sector? Hybrids are well established and there is a steady demand for younger examples, although older higher-mileage models need to be sensibly valued to attract the buyers.
BCA Analytics data shows that remarketing parameters for hybrids are similar to diesel in terms of age and mileage, but price performance is prone to more erratic peaks and troughs than both petrol and diesel models. This is typical of low-volume sectors, where model mix has an effect.
LPGs are few and far between and restricted largely to the commercial vehicle sector, and EVs are also very scarce. The key issue for all alternative ‘greener’ fuels is acceptability with the general motoring public, because they will drive the demand in the used market.