So what are the used best sellers – and should it bother you?
Well, if you’re a car dealer, it’s useful to know what’s hot and what’s sticking to the forecourt. A car dealer, though, will buy anything at the right price. What most used car buyers want is reassurance, and if everyone else is buying a Ford Fiesta, then Ford Fiestas must be worth having in stock – and they’re not wrong. The trick is not to buy over the odds and not to land yourself with a dog.
The car data people at HPI have come up with an up-to-date list. They do state the blooming obvious – “There is strong appetite for used vehicles” – but what is of more interest is that we seem to like “convertibles, executives, lower-medium cars, MPVs, superminis and SUVs, with an average selling period of just two days”.
On the whole, UK used car buyers pick pretty nice cars. You can’t argue with a Fiat 500 as a city car. Of course it’s a triumph of style over substance, but we would take style every time. Prices start at around £2500 to £3000 for a nice 2008 Pop.
When it comes to used electric cars, you’d think the best seller would be the Nissan Leaf. Instead, it’s the not very celebrated Vauxhall Ampera, which is a plug-in hybrid, of course. There aren’t all that many in circulation, so I don’t understand why it has done so well, but around £10,000 for a 2012 example with 60,000 to 80,000 company car miles seems to be about the going rate.
I can’t really face the MPV category, so let’s go straight to the supercars. There we find, at the top of the popularity chart, not the Audi R8 but something approaching a close relative in the shape of the Lamborghini Murciélago. I’d have thought it would be the Gallardo, as there are far more of those around, but this isn’t my list. Murciélagos are £120k to start with, but they do seem to be going up in value, so it’s closer to £140k for a 2008 example.
The most popular coupé is inevitably the Audi TT, so no surprise there. We like those and you know how cheap they are now. The £3000 examples, which are tidy enough, will have to start climbing in value soon.
Instead, let’s look for a large luxury car, the most popular of which is the Jaguar XJ diesel. These are great. Some have big, fat mileages and you are looking at around £4000 for a 2005 example. Better than the luxury executive most popular buy, the Bentley Continental GT. I do like them, but an old XJ gives you just as much luxury, although a petrol model would probably be a better-value buy – which is why you shouldn’t rely on best seller lists for guidance.