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What will the future hold for used car market? Motorway reveals its 2023 predictions

  • Sponsored: Motorway’s James Bush has been speaking to dealers in the platform’s network about what the future is likely to hold in 2023

Time 8:35 am, December 14, 2022

With over 5,000 dealers on the Motorway platform, the firm in a great position to get under the bonnet of not just what car dealers want, but also their predictions for the used car market in 2023.

James Bush, sales director at Motorway, has been talking to dealers from Motorwell, Jim Walton, Drayton Motors Kia and Perrys Canterbury to get their views on how the industry will fare next year.

This is what he found…

What does 2023 hold?

Overall, all the dealers we spoke with were optimistic about used car sales in 2023. In the short term, they all agree that whilst the production and delivery of new cars continues to stall, used car demand and prices should remain strong as motorists search for good quality cars to buy.  

David Wellman, the owner of Motorwell, thinks used car pricing will increase due to interest rates on new cars. He said: ‘Business will be busy as we head into January, especially for the cheaper stock under 10k – largely cash buyers.’

Wellman also acknowledged competition has been fierce this year, somewhat due to part exchange ‘drying up’, although Michael Latham, general manager of Perrys Canterbury thinks this will change in 2023.

He said: ‘The 2023 used car market will surely be impacted by the gradual restoration of new car supply, but I don’t believe we will see any sharp decreases in values, more so a return to the usual gradual depreciation of used cars.

Is the future really electric?

When it comes to stocking up on EVs for 2023, our dealers were a mixed bag. While some dealers are investing in electric and buying up as much stock as they can, others are more cautious due to pricing, infrastructure and demand. 

When asked how EVs will fit into their retail plans for next year, Stephen Walton, owner of Jim Walton said, ‘I don’t think it’ll change how I’m buying at the moment to be honest.

‘I feel that moving forward hybrid will always be in my plans but we don’t have the infrastructure for full electric vehicles right now.’

Even though Motorwell has recently seen a 40 per cent increase in enquiries for hybrids and EVs following the introduction of the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Bristol where the company is located, David Wellman is also not convinced about EVs. 

He remains concerned about EV pricing, the uncertainty around EV software and that the range of older EV models is just not good enough. 

However, he agrees with Walton that hybrids remain a priority. He said, ‘We will be concentrating more on older hybrids due to them being more versatile for customers and the pricing still being reasonable.’

However, with SMMT showing strong results for used EVs in Q3 this year, they are quickly becoming the hottest ticket in town – with lengthy wait times for new cars of up to a year, motorists have realised the used car market is the quickest, as well as most affordable, way to switch to electric.

Nathan Sargeant, group buyer of Drayton Motors Kia believes demand and therefore sales of EVs will keep growing in 2023 – they are buying as many as they can get their hands on. 

Michael Latham at Perrys Canterbury agrees that used EVs are becoming more desirable but there may be bumps in the road.

He said: ‘EVs are becoming more desirable in the used car market, with the share ever-growing month on month but the Autumn statement on VED will surely have an impact on both the new and used EV markets.’

However EVs will continue to be a part of their purchasing and retailing strategy.  

We’ve seen an increase in the number of EVs sold on Motorway since the start of the year, and bids per EV sold have increased by 71 per cent in the same period, showing dealer demand has kept up with the increased volume of EV stock on the platform.

Despite the changes to road tax in 2025 and the need for greater infrastructure, as more drivers make the leap to greener routes to driving, demand for used EVs is likely to continue to soar. 

If you are looking for stock, whether its EVs, SUVs, hatchbacks or super-minis, Motorway has hundreds of exclusive, privately-owned used vehicles to buy every day – sign up to Motorway here.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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