Long-term car ownership on the decline as finance deals grow in popularity

Time 9:42 am, November 20, 2018

THE increasing popularity of car finance deals is contributing to the decline of long-term car ownership, according to research from AA Cars.

The number of drivers who plan to hang onto their current car for more than five years has dropped by 11 per cent since owning their last car. This means there are around 3.4 million fewer drivers who have long term intentions for their current vehicle.

The AA-Populus poll of 20,666 drivers found that a fifth (18 per cent) of cars on the road are currently funded using various forms of car finance, such as Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) or Hire Purchase (HP) plans – which equates to around 700,000 more cars funded using these deals since drivers last bought a car.

Those who used one of these routes to buy their current car are much less likely to hold onto their car in the long term – only a quarter (27 per cent) of drivers using one of these finance options plan to keep their car for more than five years. Four in 10 (39 per cent) intend to hold onto their car for less than three years.

Only two in 10 consumers using PCP plans actually buy the car at the end of the deal, suggesting that the option to ‘upgrade’ to a new car is propelling the sharp fall in long-term ownership.

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars comments: ‘Even a few years ago, the majority of drivers would have expected to hang onto their car for as long as possible in an attempt to wring as much value out of it before heading back to the forecourt.

‘The growing confidence in car finance products has helped to change this dynamic. The three-year cycle of PCP and HP deals mean that drivers are returning to dealerships much sooner than they would have.

‘This is good news in a number of respects; as technology advances, cars are becoming cleaner and more efficient. The cyclical effect of these deals means that buyers are introducing these more environmentally-friendly motors to the roads, rather than persevering with older and less environmentally friendly cars.’

‘The domino effect for the used car market is that a glut of nearly-new stock continues to flood forecourts and is available to buyers who are looking to prioritise value over a brand new registration.’

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Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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