Used cars on an unnamed Lookers forecourt via PAUsed cars on an unnamed Lookers forecourt via PA


Plan B fails to halt buoyant used car market as prices rise by close to 30 per cent

  • Used car prices up by close to 30 per cent year-on-year
  • Success marks 84th consecutive week of growth, says Auto Trader
  • Plan B measures fail to halt buoyant market

Time 1:13 pm, December 15, 2021

The government’s plan B measures may have been introduced to halt a rise in Covid cases but even they have done nothing to curb the spike in used car prices, new data has shown.

Figures from Auto Trader show that in the week Boris Johnson announced additional restrictions, used car prices shot up by 28 per cent compared to the same point last year.

The outstanding results have beaten the same point last month, when prices were 26.9 per cent higher than 2020.

It marks the 84th consecutive week of price growth with the average price of a used car on Auto Trader increased by around £5,200 in the last seven months.

The online marketplace says the acceleration is being fuelled by an imbalance of supply and demand in the market.

The ongoing constraints in new and used car supply, coupled with exceptionally strong levels of consumer demand, has allowed prices to stay sky high.

The boom has been unaffected by the new restriction with 11.6m cross platform visits to Auto Trader last week – a 20 per cent increase on the same period in the pre-pandemic 2019.

Further evidence of the negligible impact Plan B has had on consumer demand, is the high volume of enquiries that are continuing to be sent to retailers through Auto Trader.

Last week, the average number of used car leads sent to retailers grew 46 per cent when compared to the same period in 2019.

Another factor in the surge in prices is the ongoing drop in levels of supply, which were down 11 per cent last week versus 2019.

The shortage of microchips and other raw materials which is directly and dramatically impacting worldwide supply of new cars, is having a significant knock-on effect on the remarketing supply of used cars.

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s data and insights director, said: ‘At this time of year, as we fast approach Christmas, it’s quite normal to see price growth slow on a week-on-week or even a month-on-month basis.

‘What is far less typical however, is the very strong levels of consumer demand that we’re continuing to track in the market, which even with the introduction of the Government’s Plan B measures, shows no sign of weakening.

‘In fact, fuelled by the recovering economy and a resilient labour market, we can expect very strong demand to continue for some time to come. Coupled with the ongoing new and used car supply constraints, these market dynamics will keep used car price growth on its current trajectory well into 2022.

‘Any suggestion, therefore, that any recent easing is anything beyond a normal seasonal trend is simply not correct.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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