Currently reading: Sales of used diesels rise despite overall decline in second-hand car market
A 3.2% increase in diesel sales suggests shrewd used car buyers are taking advantage of recent uncertainty over the future of oilburners
Jimi Beckwith
News
2 mins read
15 August 2018

Diesel sales on the used car market increased by 3.2% in the second quarter of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017. Despite the negative image cultivated by the mainstream media, second-hand oilburners bucked an overall drop of 0.4% in the market, with nearly 8000 fewer cars changing hands in the three months from April to June.

Sales of used petrol cars fell by 3.3% over the same period, while sales of hybrid, electric and hydrogen cars reflected the new car market by recording 25.3% growth over the second quarter of 2017.

Despite the new car market turning its back on diesels, values of second-hand variants haven’t dropped, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

SMMT boss Mike Hawes said: “Motorists take advantage of the exciting high-tech models filtering down from the new sector – including some of the latest low-emissions diesel and alternatively fuelled vehicles. However, with used sales so closely reflecting the new car market, some cooling is expected over the coming months.”

With CO2 figures set to rise considerably as a consequence of the backlash against diesel and the market’s subsequent move towards petrol cars, combined with the relatively slow uptake of hybrid and electric cars, Hawes warned that air quality may bear the brunt of buyers’ decisions: “Given fleet renewal is the fastest way to improve air quality and reduce CO2, we need greater business and consumer confidence to keep both markets moving.”

Despite the small dip in used car sales, more than two million of them changed hands between the start of April and the end of June this year. 

The large percentage rise in electrified sales represents 5417 cars, suggesting that used buyers are even happier to embrace lower-emissions cars than new car buyers, with demand growing only 23.8% across the year so far for new hybrid, hydrogen and electric cars. Almost 101,000 new alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) have been registered this year. 

B-segment hatchbacks remain the used market’s car of choice, with five superminis in the top ten used cars. The Ford Fiesta, the UK’s best-selling new car, is also the most popular used buy. 

C-segment hatchbacks like the Ford Focus remain strong in demand, with the Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra in second, fourth and fifth places respectively.

Conventional hatchbacks are the prevailing dominant body style in the used market, although growing SUV sales means the trend for higher-riding vehicles will almost certainly trickle down to the used market in months to come.

The most popular premium cars on the used market are the BMW 3 Series and Audi A3, despite Mercedes’ rivals to both cars - the C-Class and A-Class - being far more popular on the new car market. 

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12

15 August 2018

Or is the used car market driven by availability, and a lot of used diesels have become available as people replace their old diesels with new petrols?

17 August 2018
Neil2129 wrote:

Or is the used car market driven by availability, and a lot of used diesels have become available as people replace their old diesels with new petrols?

LOL!

Never let facts get in the way of a good press release!

15 August 2018

  Yeah there will be a few bargains, but, come time to change again?, what if Deisel is still as a new buy not happening?

15 August 2018

It should be obvious that used car sales are driven by people wanting to sell rather than by buyer demand. So the obvious reason for an increase in used diesel sales is that more owners are selling than previously. All the demand in the world isn't going to boost sales if there aren't any used ones for sale! I suspect that a study of the transaction prices might reveal the full story.  

15 August 2018
LP in Brighton wrote:

It should be obvious that used car sales are driven by people wanting to sell rather than by buyer demand. So the obvious reason for an increase in used diesel sales is that more owners are selling than previously. All the demand in the world isn't going to boost sales if there aren't any used ones for sale! I suspect that a study of the transaction prices might reveal the full story.  

 

Exactly! As people who bought new diesel cars three/four years ago (at diesel peak popularity) reach the end of PCPs and hand them back and move (back) to petrol, where does the author of the piece think these cars go if not the used car market?! The used buyer has little choice other than buy what was new previously. 

15 August 2018
Mike Hawes is still fighting his lonely rearguard action on behalf of diesel, unable to utter a solitary word in favour of petrol-engined cars or the folk that drive them. The poor man is deluded. I'm beginning to feel sorry for him.

15 August 2018

Many of these cars are hitting the used market after being used for mostly short journeys, or are about to be used as such, and the DPF's and over-injected fuel in the sumps in many, if not most, are a potential large unexpected bill waiting to bite.  We've already seen plenty of models suffering from these problems from new.

15 August 2018

Rented a Ford Kuga auto in the US recently. Got 27 mpUSg (33 mpGBg) driving reasonably steadily. What a shock to the wallet when our BMW 2 series diesel AT does 55 mpg  out of town.

If everyone switches to petrol, you can forget those CO2 targets  that the UK has - and polar bears - and, if you've read about Djakarta recently, don't book any holidays there!!

15 August 2018
This is so stupid I struggle for words.

Sales of used diesels 100% reflect new sales 3 or 4 years ago. There is really no variability on that.

It is no reflection whatsoever on demand. What has to be sold has to be sold.

And quoting the SMMT again? Without question? Seriously? Now that's quality journalism.

Pathetic.

16 August 2018
It is a tragedy that Autocar has just become a mouthpiece for the garbled messages of an industry that has brought this on itself.

This was the magazine that ripped the Mk5 Escort to pieces, directly leading to the Richard Parry-Jones era of chassis and driving excellence.

Now it is this - 'What would you like us to tell them, car makers?'

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