Press release

Auto Trader Retail Price Index | May 2019

Retail prices remain buoyant in May

  • Seasonal downturn had less impact in 2019 compared with previous years
  • Used car market remains buoyant but rate of growth has slowed
  • Average price of EVs and AFVs nearly double that of ICE counterparts

Used car prices in the UK continue to grow despite Brexit and economic uncertainty, albeit the rate of growth has slowed to 0.8%, the slowest since December 2016. This continuing shift in price, which we’ve seen throughout 2019, means average sticker prices are £12,775.

The latest findings from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index show that diesel cars had the slowest growth rate in May at 0.4% and an average sticker price of £14,163. While petrol cars have seen price growth of 1%, with an average retail price of £11,174.

Meanwhile, alternative fuelled vehicles (AFVs) continue to outdo both powertrains at 4.8% growth and an average sticker price of £21,663 nearly double that of its internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. Specifically, electric vehicles (EVs) are the stand-out performer; price growth is still in double digits at 11.8%, and they continue to rise in average price, £23,771 - the highest on record.

Challenging the negative rhetoric

“There has been much rhetoric around the strength of the used car market in recent weeks, namely that prices have plummeted however, Auto Trader data tells a different story. Prices are still growing, it’s just that the rate of growth is slower than we’re accustomed to and that we’ve seen in recent months,” explains Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Director of Commercial Products.

Looking at circa three-year-old stock with around 60,000 miles on the clock, it’s clear the seasonal trend has an impact annually, driven by the March registration plate change. Month-on-month impact on price is down 3.56% which is less severe than we saw in 2018, 2017, 2012 and 2011.

Edwards-Smajda continues: “There is a clear trend every year following September and March plate change, resulting in an increase in three-year-old, 60k vehicles. The used car market has an influx of stock, often as a result of consumers trading in their car for a new one. Following the March plate change, the volume of three-year-old cars reaches its peak between March and June. This saturates the market and prices become more competitive – which is what we observed happening in May. This is part of the annual cycle, and it’s a trend we see every year.”

Searches for AFVs reaches all-time high

The number of people searching for AFVs has increased to an all-time high, with 8% of all fuel related searches on Auto Trader for the fuel type this month. Petrol has lost the share gained by AFVs, accounting for 51% of all fuel related searches. Searches for diesel remains flat at 41%.

Stock in the market

The continued surge in 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.

Tomorrow we’ll be announcing which retailers are #athighlyrated for 2020! Those that qualify will be receiving packs to promote their success to car buyers online and in their showrooms this week - stay tuned to find out if you’re highly rated! https://t.co/j2zk8dJSli
Missed this week's webinar with special guest @vertumotors? Well fear not - the whole webinar is now available on demand at https://t.co/A8vB2i49FU https://t.co/fpMbEkaRgB
Driving long distances? Well the best car for the job is the @UKVolkswagen Golf which scooped the Best Car for Long Distances award at the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2020. Find out what owners said at https://t.co/TAtdeRojpZ https://t.co/4Sj9ANaFK6
For those looking for a 7 seater you can do no better than the @VolvoCarUK #XC90. That's according to the 181,000 car owners who voted it the best 7 seater in this year's Auto Trader New Car Awards! https://t.co/M7t1X3Ic9S https://t.co/csJOtcU63N
Exactly one week ago @MrRoryReid & @ErinBakerMotors announced the winners of the Auto Trader New Car Awards – revealing the best #newcars in the UK according to over 181,000 car owners! You can check out the #award winners at https://t.co/FMgf5HByCM #ThrowbackThursday https://t.co/CLdSORmOV0
Exactly one week ago when @MrRoryReid & @ErinBakerMotors announced the winners of the Auto Trader New Car Awards – revealing the best #newcars in the UK according to over 181,000 car owners! You can check out the #award winners at https://t.co/FMgf5HByCM #ThrowbackThursday https://t.co/SAFHIczDhl
#Dacia have done it once again! The @daciauk Duster once again won the Best Value New Car at the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2020 - an award they also took home in 2019! https://t.co/vf00Z0g60W https://t.co/rn5qZX59Gh
We've seen a record number of #newcar and van #leads with new car retailers enjoying a massive 91% monthly increase in leads! Discover the latest new car data and how to drive even more leads as we see demand continue to spike now > https://t.co/8l2Mkx0ldn
Big thanks to everyone who joined today's webinar and of course to our guest speaker @vertumotors!
Reminder that next week we'll be launching #ATHighlyRated! Retailers who met the criteria will be receiving a pack next week to promote their achievements to consumers. https://t.co/UJgS71ytoP

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