Pure electric vehicles buck the trend as used prices stall

Time 11:07 am, May 24, 2019

THE AVERAGE rate of price growth of a used car might have slowed to an almost two-year low of 1.5 per cent but prices of pure electric vehicles (EVs) are bucking the trend, growing at a rate of 11 per cent.

The latest findings from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index highlight the extent consumer economic uncertainty is having on used car prices, with the average rate of growth gradually easing across the total market since January 2019.

However, at a more granular level, the decline has been felt most keenly by second-hand diesels, with growth now slowing to just 1.3 per cent. Average diesel sticker prices have fallen to £14,306 – the lowest since August 2017.

Petrol is faring better, albeit marginally. Growth has slowed from 2.4 per cent in March to just 1.6 per cent last month – the lowest rate since October 2016. The average sticker price of a petrol is £11,200, gaining on last month’s £11,186.

Prices for internal combustion engines (ICEs) might be stalling but their electric-powered counterparts are thriving. With an average sticker price of £21,560 in April, used alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) grew at a rate of 4.7 per cent, up from last month’s 3.7 per cent, marking the highest rate of growth since August 2018.

The top performer, though, is pure electric at an average price of £23,361 – the highest price to date and double-digit growth at 11 per cent.

The surging prices of low-emission vehicles can be attributed to supply and demand. On Auto Trader, the UK’s largest automotive digital marketplace, AFVs currently account for just one per cent of stock listed, while petrol and diesel account for 52 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.

Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s director of commercial products, said: ‘When it comes to low-emission vehicles, the industry is facing a Catch-22 situation. The growing appetite of AFVs offer the industry a great opportunity for growth, but for mass adoption the average price needs to be more accessible to more people.

‘However, with so few vehicles in the market, even second-hand cars are being pushed out of financial reach for most consumers.’

The number of people searching for diesels continues to decline, with just 41 per cent of all fuel-related searches on Auto Trader for the fuel type. Petrol is gaining the share lost by diesel, accounting for 52 per cent of all fuel-related searches. Searches for AFVs remains flat at seven per cent.

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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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