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Used diesel car prices ‘resilient’ but searches fall to record low

VW TDI badgeDespite suggestions to the contrary, real-world used car price data from Auto Trader shows used diesel car prices have actually grown at the fastest rate in almost three years, recording a year-on-year increase of 3 percent.

There has, however, been a huge decline in searches for diesel on the new and used car marketplace. In November 2016, 71 percent of overall searches were for diesel cars. Last month, that was down to a record low of 51 percent.

Searches for petrol cars, in contrast, rose from 43 percent to 45 percent. Prices for petrol cars are also booming, rising 10 percent in a year.

“It’s encouraging to see yet more evidence that used diesel prices are holding up, both month-on-month and year-on-year,” said Auto Trader retail and consumer product director Karolina Edwards-Smajda.

However, “with a sustained decline in searches for diesel on our platform, it’s clear that consumer sentiment has been significantly impacted by anti-diesel rhetoric and a lack of clarity about the benefits and drawbacks of diesel vs other fuel types”.

Overall used car prices rose 6 percent in March 2018. The average price of a used car on Auto Trader – and there are around 470,000 of them – was £12,732. The average price of a diesel car? £14,453 – and that’s an impressive £905 more than March 2017.

As with the new car market, searches for alternative fuel vehicles are rising on Auto Trader. They represented 5 percent of overall searches – with the Nissan Leaf leading the way for electric car searches, and the Toyota Auris Hybrid emerging as the most popular hybrid car.

“It’s exciting to see that consumers are, albeit slowly, beginning to see alternatively fuelled vehicles as viable options,” said Edwards-Smajda.

“However, there are still some very real barriers hampering more widespread adoption. Our March market report found that 59 percent of recent car buyers who chose not to purchase an electric car were put off by the upfront expense.”

What’s the answer to this? “Finance will be a key enabler to greater consumer uptake of electric and hybrid cars, but we also need government to step up and offer willing early adopters greater incentives to buy electric.”

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