Supply and demand pushes used AFVs out of reach

Friday, May 24, 2019 - 09:41
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Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Director of Commercial Products

At a time when the average rate of price growth of a used car has slowed to an almost two year low of 1.5%, prices of pure electric vehicles (EVs) are bucking the trend, growing at a rate of 11%.

That’s the latest findings from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index, which highlights 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%. 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% in March, to just 1.6% 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.

Low emissions bucking the trend
Whilst internal combustion engines (ICEs) are stumbling, 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%, up from last month’s 3.7% and, indeed, the highest rate of growth since August 2018. But the star of the show is pure electric; at £23,361, the highest price to date, EVs are growing at a double-digit rate (11%).

Stock in the market
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 1% of stock listed, whilst petrol and diesel account for 52% and 47% respectively.

“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,” explains Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Director of Commercial Products.

Searches for diesel cars is at an all-time low
The numbers of people searching for diesels continues to decline, with just 41% of all fuel related searches on Auto Trader for the fuel type. Petrol is gaining the share lost by diesel, accounting for 52% of all fuel related searches. Searches for AFVs remains flat at 7%.

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