The British used car market rose to a record
high value of £35.7bn in 2011, according to British Car Auctions’
(BCA) used car market report for 2012.

The figure, up from £35bn in 2010, comes as a
result of growing sales volumes, which offset flat average prices
of £5,336. By comparison new car volumes fell by 4.4%, although a
move towards larger and prestige vehicles meant that the overall
value grew by £0.3bn to £29bn.

Tim Naylor, editor of the BCA Used Car Market
Report, said: “The economic backdrop is likely to remain difficult
for some time to come and used car buyers will continue to look for
the best value – both in the car itself and any accompanying
financial deal.”

He added: “Consumers are looking for good
value, but low finance in itself is not a deal maker.  It is
cited by just 3% as important when choosing a dealer, for example
and a similar percentage said a ‘low interest loan’ was an
important factor.”

The average value of a used car sold by a
dealer dropped by 1.7% to £7,169, and the average value of a
privately sold car rose by 2.4% to £2,815, with these two sales
channels accounting for 75.1% and 20.7% of market value

Average auction prices also rose to £6,451,
marking a good recovery from £4,836 during the 2008 recession. This
increased value was helped by a record £8,042 average value for
fleet and lease vehicles, in spite of cars having on average 3,000
more miles on the clock than those sold 18 months ago.

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BCA sees interest in the ‘value for money’ car
market, coupled with restricted supply as less new cars are
produced and sold, as being a potential driver for increasing used
car values.

Tony Gannon, BCA Communications Director,
said: “The used car sector is now experiencing the full effect of
the lower new car sales since the onset of the recession in 2008
and this is changing the dynamics of the marketplace.”

He continued: “Sales of cars under five years
declined by 7.2% [last year]. Older cars are increasingly becoming
a fact of life for car dealers and used car buyers and will be
going forward as supplies of younger cars may well remain low for
up to a decade.”