Land Rover Discovery 3 Craig feature CD 187Land Rover Discovery 3 Craig feature CD 187

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Opportunity knocks for rural used car dealers thanks to expansion of Ulez

Some car dealers have been turning away diesel part-exchanges since the Ulez expansion but others are coining it in as a result of the controversial move and political hot potato!

Time 8:36 am, September 23, 2023

Specialist dealers in the more rural parts of the UK are tapping into a rich vein of desirable stock as drivers in the south-east of England rush to dispose of cars that don’t comply with the expanded Ulez.

The introduction of the expanded zone across all of London’s boroughs has seen a massive surplus of older vehicles, especially diesels, flood the market, forcing down values and leading to some dealers turning away non-compliant part-exchanges.

But while it’s bad news for some, a few dealers elsewhere in the UK are making the most of the strong supply.


Colin Maconachie runs CMC Specialists in Muir of Ord, nine miles north-west of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, and in the past two weeks he’s received two transporter-loads of SUVs from the south-east, including one entirely of Jeep Grand Cherokees.

‘I’ve been buying from one of the big auction houses,’ he said.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Craig feature CD 187

Jeep Grand Cherokees are among the second-hand SUVs finding loving new homes far from the Ulez

‘Up here, good used 4x4s are worth strong money – we have clean mountain air and no emission zones to worry about, but the winters can be very harsh.


‘I’ve always bought cars in from down south as Highland winters can kill cars off pretty quickly – there’s salt on the roads for four months of the year.

‘But there are rust-free Subaru Foresters, Jeep Cherokees and Land Rover Discoverys coming out of London and those are cars that I can sell really easily, especially when I can show the customers they’re new to the Highlands and haven’t been used hard.

‘A lot of my buyers are farmers who work their vehicles hard and don’t expect them to last forever. They like to know they can get two or three years out of them.

‘The cars I’ve got coming are between 10 and 20 years old with no rust, they’re the best I’ve had in years and I can sell them really quickly because that type of buyer just wants a strong working vehicle that they can get a few years out of.

Subaru Forester, Craig feature CD 187

Used Subaru Foresters that are being rejected by London dealers because of the Ulez are selling well elsewhere to the likes of farmers

‘I find the more luxurious models are popular with families, too. I won’t touch Range Rovers as they’re too complicated, but the Jeeps are quite classy and people up here seem to like them.’

Specialist dealers in Wales are reporting similar trends, with one Land Rover specialist, Torfaen-based Andy Like, telling us that he is targeting high-specification Discovery 3s and Range Rover Sports as his core stock.

‘That kind of vehicle is still popular here, and any plans that there were for a Clean Air Zone in Cardiff have been put on hold while people don’t have much money.

‘In rural areas, there probably won’t ever be anything like that. People here need working vehicles. They don’t buy 4x4s as status symbols but now they’re being treated with cars coming out of London with loads of spec.

‘I’ve bought as much stock as I can afford, as it won’t be there forever.’


This article appears in the current edition of Car Dealer – issue 187 – along with news, views, reviews, features and more! You can read and download it for FREE here!

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