AA Cars reveals rise in demand for used cars

AA Cars reveals rise in demand for used cars

Data from AA Cars has revealed that demand for used cars has increased 15% more than what it was this time last year, coinciding with a decline in sales of new cars.

Drivers’ interest in used cars has spiked to 9.1% above pre-pandemic levels when forecourts re-opened in June, but the analysis reportedly shows that demand has continued to pick up since then.

Searches on the AA Cars platform in September were on average 4% higher than they were in June — with some areas, such as Glasgow, seeing demand rise by almost a third (32.2%).

AA Cars analysed searches made on its platform in September for used vehicles in 48 major UK towns and cities. Across the UK, demand was 15% higher than the level recorded in September 2019.

In Crawley, the area with the biggest increase in demand, searches had doubled compared to last year. Meanwhile sales of brand new cars reportedly fell by 4.4% in September, compared to the same month in 2019.

September is said to be a typically high point for sales, as new registration plates are introduced, but this September saw the lowest number of new registrations in two decades, according to SMMT data.

The number of second-hand vehicles being bought or leased with car finance has also increased, with the most recent figures from the Finance and Leasing Association showing a 2% rise in August compared to the same month in 2019. However, data revealed there was a 1% decline in financing for new cars in the same month.

It’s widely thought that Government guidance for people to avoid public transport where possible has led more Britons to consider buying a car. Government data showed that car use hit 92% of normal levels during September, while use of National Rail only reached 40% of normal journeys.

Forecourts reopened at the beginning of June in England, and at the end of June in Scotland and Wales. AA Cars’ analysis compared June with September and showed that the demand since the re-opening has been sustained — and even increased in many areas.

Top 10 areas with the biggest increase in searches from September 2019 to September 2020[1]

Town/city % change in searches in Sept 2020 compared to Sept 2019  % change in searches in Sept 2020 compared to June 2020 
Crawley 102.30% 26.50%
Glasgow 96.70% 32.20%
Cardiff 70.60% 21.40%
Cheltenham 63.90% 12.50%
Bournemouth 52.00% -2.20%
Preston 51.80% 34.60%
Mansfield 51.30% 29.00%
Kingston upon Hull 48.70% 8.50%
Sheffield 38.40% 3.50%
Basingstoke 34.40% 0.20%

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, commented: “The sustained increase in demand since the summer is positive news for the used car market, which endured a big decline in sales during lockdown.

“The used car market continues to offer an enormous amount of choice to drivers at all price points, and changes in commuting habits may be leading more people to purchase a car so they can avoid public transport.

“The large range of affordable cars on the second-hand market means that drivers who need a new or replacement vehicle, but also have concerns about job security or the state of the economy, can easily find one to suit their budget.

“With many people worried about their finances, it is more important than ever that drivers take care when buying a used car.

“We recommend buying only from a reputable dealer, and having a car independently inspected to ensure there are no major problems which could prove costly down the line. A warranty can provide extra peace of mind to those worried about having to pay for expensive repairs if something does go wrong with their car.”

For more information, visit www.theaa.com/cars/.

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