Used car sales at record-breaking levels in UK

British Car Auctions (BCA) released its 25th edition of the Used Car Market Report on Friday, which revealed that the UK’s used car market exceeded GBP45bn in 2014, a year on year increase of 5.6%.

The BCA Used Car Market Report was compiled in association with the Centre for Automotive Management, University of Buckingham showed that car dealers account for GBP34.3bn, or 78.3%, of all used car sales, as well as 4.1 million sales, equivalent to 57% of all sales to result in an all-time high for the sector.

According to BCA, the market maintained a strong performance in the post recessionary period and a total of 7.2 million used cars were sold in 2014.  There were 2.5 million sales of new car sales during the same period, which resulted in a ratio of 2.9 used cars sold to every 1 new car.

Collectively, the value of the UK new and used car markets significantly increased to GBP88.5bn in 2014, leaping up from GBP79.4bn in 2013. Used vehicles accounted for 51% of the total market value in 2014.

Based on consumer research conducted earlier this year, the BCA Used Car Market Report also provides an insight into the buying and ownership preferences of UK motorists. Changing attitudes to the used car buying process have been identified, with buyers now considering that the hands-on experience of the test drive is more important than in previous years. The report revealed that the test drive was the most important influence on the choice of used for 22% of the motorists surveyed, an increase from 16% in the year before. Car buyers are also increasingly using the internet to research online and then completing the deal in the showroom.

Car ownership in the UK households increased to 75% in 2015, compared to 69% in 2014. The report also showed that 12% of motorists are likely to buy a car in the next 12 months, with almost three quarters (72%) saying they would buy a used car in 2015.

Spencer Lock, group managing director at BCA, said: “The shape of the used car market is likely to change as the new cars sold in the last 3 or more years start to feed into the sector in greater volumes. Dealers that have had to focus increasingly on older vehicles should find growing volumes of younger used cars available to meet the needs of their customers.”

BCA was first established in 1946 as Southern Counties Car Auctions. It handles the sale of vehicles on behalf of vendors, to its buyers. The company’s customers are businesses: fleet operators; manufacturers; finance and leasing houses; rental companies; national authorities; and professionals from across the retail and wholesale motor industry.