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Vertu boss warns of ‘significant’ used car valuation issues if Ulez zones expand across UK

  • Robert Forrester appears on LBC to talk about effects of Ulez
  • He says cars used to sell for more in the south-east but there’s been a reversal
  • CEO says roll-out in other cities will cause major valuation problems
  • ‘North of England will benefit from south-east’s anti-motorist policies’
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Time 8:08 am, October 24, 2023

Vertu Motors chief executive Robert Forrester says the Ulez expansion is causing cars to head north for a better dollar rather than the other way round.

Speaking to LBC host Nick Ferrari from Newcastle upon Tyne, Forrester said: ‘Because of general economics, cars tended to sell for more in the south-east than in, say, Scotland or the north-east, so there was a natural tendency to ship cars south.

‘With the Ulez expansion…people are trying to get out of the car that they’re in if it is subject to the charges and we take them in part-exchanges or they go through auctions, and there is very, very good demand.’


But he made the point that there had been massive improvements in engines over the past 15 years and they were no longer heavily toxic and polluting.

Asked what the impact might be if Ulez was rolled out in other cities, including in the north where Vertu has its head office, and Scotland, where Vertu operates under the Macklin Motors banner, Forrester said: ‘If the majority of the country went this way, then these cars are going to have significant valuation issues, because the remaining market for them to go to would be reduced.’

He said there was a case 10 to 15 years ago for tackling exhaust pollution as engines weren’t as good as they are today, but modern engines were much stronger on emissions.


Ferrari commented that there were currently bargains to be had in some parts of the country, and Forrester agreed, saying: ‘The north of England will benefit from the problems the south-east of England is having with its anti-motorist policies or pro-green policies.’

The point was also made that it wasn’t too long ago that people were being told they should be in diesel vehicles but now they were having to sell them, and Forrester said: ‘We could have a long debate about the vacillations of government policy and I don’t think we’ve finished here.

‘I think over the next five or 10 years we’re going to see significant changes again in government policy probably as reality dawns.’

You can listen to the interview with Forrester on the talk radio station in full at the top of this story.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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