High-end cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 among the top models bought and sold, and one in five buyers (20 per cent) now spends more than £10k on a privately-sold car, rising to 29 per cent of buyers aged 55 and older.
Yet bargains are still to be had, as 13 per cent of buyers spend less than £1k.
AutoCheck is the vehicle data checking service from global information services company Experian and these figures form part of the Experian AutoCheck Used Car Report, an inaugural study into the private used car market.
Based on a survey of 1,800 used car owners who have bought a used car from a private seller in the last 18 months, this report is the first of what will be an annual investigation into the private used car marketplace, says Experian.
Peter Turner, managing director of Experian Consumer Services, UK&I said: ‘Private used car sales have always played a significant role in the automotive sector, with current estimates from the Office of Fair Trading and British Car Auctions that private sales account for up to 40 per cent of all used car sales.
‘Combined with the insight gained from this report, we can assume the value of this element of the sector to be in excess of £16.7bn.
‘Due to the nature of this part of the used car market, it can be something of an unknown entity and therefore difficult to regulate. In order to fully reap the many benefits of purchasing privately, not least of which is the cost saving, people need to ensure they check the car thoroughly – not just its bodywork, but its history.’
Among the key findings in the Experian AutoCheck Used Car Report were:
80 per cent of those surveyed have never owned a new car.
Price is single most significant motivating factor when choosing to buy a used car privately, cited by 100 per cent of respondents.
Eight per cent of used car buyers found that the car they’d bought had faulty or damaged parts that had not been disclosed by the seller, and more than half of buyers (59 per cent) had to replace or repair some parts within the first 12 months.
22 per cent of people failed to take the basic precaution of collecting their used car from the seller’s address.
More than a quarter of women did not examine any parts in the used car they most recently purchased compared to 17 per cent of male respondents.
Men (38 per cent) are more likely to buy from a friend, colleague or employee, with women proven to be more cautious (24 per cent) and preferring not to purchase form personal contacts.
Top used cars
1. Ford Fiesta
2. Ford Focus
3. Vauxhall Corsa
4. BMW 3 series
5. Audi A4
6. Vauxhall Astra
7. Renault Clio
8. Audi A3
9. Renault Megane
10. Ford Ka
Who drives used cars?
80 per cent of those surveyed have never owned a new car
70 per cent of us believe that our next car will be a used car
By the time we are 55, we will have owned an average of 10 used cars
What we pay
We spend an average of £6,203 on our privately-bought used cars
13 per cent of us spend less than £1k
28 per cent of 18-24-year-olds spend less than £2k