New Car Sales increase but Used Car Sales decrease in Q1 2015

Latest results show a 29% increase in New Car Sales for Q1 2015, but a worrying trend has emerged in the Used Car Market with Sales down 8% for the same period.

According to figures released today by, New car sales continue to soar and the Motor Trade looks on target to hit 120,000 units for the year and experience its highest sales since 2008. At the end of the first quarter 2015 almost 64,500 New Cars have been registered, an increase of 29% (or 14,500 units) on the same period last year. The industry now expects to hit total sales of 120,000 units for the year.

Used Car Sales Decrease

This is in stark contrast to the used car market where we are seeing used car sales decrease and overall sales are down 8% (approx. 18.5k units).  Used car sales suffered when the recession hit just like new car sales but they have been slowly on the rise, and 2014 experienced a jump of 7% or 57k units on the previous year. There were 841k used car sales last year, the vast majority of those were between private buyers and sellers. However there were almost 172k used cars sold by the Motor Trade to private buyers in 2014. This represented an increase of 20% in Trade business or an increase of 28k units sold by the Trade to private buyers last year. The decrease in used car sales has hit both private sales and trade sales with decreases of 9% and 13% respectively.  Inter-Trade transactions have increased slightly whilst private trade-ins to the trade have remained steady.

Worrying Trend

This is a worrying trend indeed as the used cars are traditionally sold in much higher volume than new cars and it’s a very important component of a healthy industry. What we are seeing now is the hangover from the fallow years in new car sales resulting a shortage of good quality 2, 3, 4, and 5 year old stock, combined with the shift in exchange rates which makes importing stock from the UK not as attractive as it was last year.
Used cars imported from the UK have also been increasing year on year and this has been plugging the gap in used stock to a certain extent.  The used stock shortage is now being magnified because used imports from the UK have also decreased.

Buyer Beware

What this all means for the consumer is less choice and availability and the knock-on effect is that prices of used cars are remaining steady and not depreciating at the rates you would expect, so it’s very much a seller’s market. Unfortunately what we tend to see in these situations is that people feel under pressure to complete a deal and can make rash decisions.  We would urge anyone buying a used car to always perform the necessary checks even if it seems like you might lose a rare deal.

New Car Sales Highlights:

  • Car registrations for Q1 2015 increased 29% against Q1 2014
  • March 2015 sales were 32% ahead of March 2014
  • Volkswagen is the top manufacturer followed by Toyota, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan
  • The top selling model is the Volkswagen Golf, followed by the Ford Focus, Nissan Qashqai, Toyota Corolla and Skoda Octavia

Used Car UK Import Highlights:

  • Used car imports for Q1 2015 decreased 3.92% against Q1 2014
  • The top makes imported in Q1 were Ford, Volkswagen, Vauxhall and Audi
  • The top models imported in Q1 were the Ford Focus followed by the Volkswagen Passat, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Insignia.

Used Car Sales Highlights:

  • Used car sales Q1 2015 decreased 8% against Q1 2014
  • 841,437 used cars were sold in 2014 an increase of 7% on 2013
  • 169,648 used cars were sold from trade sellers to private buyers in 2014, an increase of 20%
  • In Q1 2015 used cars sold by trade sellers to private buyers has decreased by 9%