Paul Booker has been advertising his BMW 320d, a 2012/62-reg Luxury model with 85,000 miles, on a leading website for several weeks but had few enquiries.
He lives in south London and believes the expansion, this October, of the city’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) from central London to much of the North Circular and South Circular roads is to blame. “It’s in very good condition and I’ve priced it at £6700,” he said. “However, I’m sure buyers are being put off by it being an older diesel car that is penalised when entering the ULEZ zone.”
The penalty he refers to is the £12.50 daily charge applied to cars that fail to meet the ULEZ emissions standard. For petrol models, the standard is Euro 4 (in force on most new cars from 2005), and for diesels it’s Euro 6 (in force from 2015). The ULEZ daily charge for non-compliance is in addition to the congestion charge and the AA has warned that up to 350,000 motorists could be affected.
However, their pain is someone else’s gain. Paul Molavi is managing director of Forza UK, a car dealer based in Hampshire. Prompted by stories of London motorists rushing to sell their non-ULEZ-compliant cars before the zone is extended, he has opened a branch in the city, marketing his stock as ULEZ or non-ULEZ.
“Londoners are keen to replace their older cars with cleaner, ULEZ-compliant ones,” he said. “Their asking prices for non-ULEZ cars are low, and within the M25 private sellers are being offered around 10 % less by dealers than they would get elsewhere in the country.
“The reason for this is that Londoners live in a bubble. They believe what’s happening there is also happening across the country so assume their older car has little value. However, outside the city, demand for older diesel cars – in fact, all cars – is strong and prices are rising. I spend much of my time just searching for cars to buy for decent money.”
Molavi has touched on the two-speed nature of today’s used car market: for some models at its slowest in cities facing tougher environmental controls but racing away elsewhere.