According to the latest results from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index, which is based on daily pricing analysis of circa 900,000 vehicles, the average price of a used car in February was £14,096: a year-on-year (YoY) and like-for-like increase of 6.6%.

This was the eleventh month of consecutive price growth and reflects the robust health of the car market despite the current restrictions. According to Auto Trader analysis, most businesses are currently trading at around 80% of normal volumes; up from around 65% in January.

Commenting on the results, Auto Trader’s director of data and insight, Richard Walker, said: “This sustained level of price growth, coupled with the strong consumer metrics we’re recording on our marketplace, gives us cause for optimism of very strong retail demand once forecourts are able to physically reopen next month. Add to the mix growing economic confidence, as well as the current operating performance of most retailers, we believe there’s good reason for a positive outlook for the weeks ahead.”

Retailer pricing behaviour in line with last year

Based on the number of retailers making price changes and the value of their adjustments, February’s pricing strategies are consistent with those of last year, which given the restrictions, underpins the current market stability, Auto Trader highlighted.

Demand cools for ICE in February, but remains fully charged for electric

The average price of a used petrol car in February was £12,731, which was a 5.8% YoY increase, but an easing on the 6.9% growth recorded in January which is due to the current over balance of supply in the market, which increased 17.4% YoY last month, compared to demand, which fell -2.1%.

Whilst both supply and demand for used diesels fell in February, down -5.6% and -3.2% respectively, the diesel market remains in good balance seeing like-for-like prices continue to hold strong with price growth of 8.4% YoY, dipping very slightly on January’s 8.8% YoY. The average sticker price for a used diesel was £14,617.

In contrast to their fossil fuelled counterparts, electric continue to record strong levels of consumer demand, increasing 18.5% and 48.1% respectively for volume[1] and premium EVs[2]. However, whilst the average sticker prices increased 11.8% YoY for volume brands (£20,196), they declined -4.1% for premium (£43,881), due principally to fast increasing levels of supply in the market.

Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive, added: As used car prices remain at high levels for all fuel types, it is encouraging that retailers’ pricing behaviour continues to be in line with last year before the first lockdown, indicating a degree of stability in the market and optimism in the trade. Dealers are looking forward to safely welcoming customers back into showrooms as soon as it is allowed.

[1] Volume EV brands categorised as: Ford, Volkswagen, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Nissan, Citroen, Kia, Hyundai, MG, Renault, SEAT, SKODA, Honda, Toyota, Fiat, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Smart, Dacia, Jeep, Subaru

[2] Premium EV brands categorised as: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Tesla, Volvo, MINI, DS AUTOMOBILES, Lexus, Abarth, Alfa Romeo