Used diesel car searches plunge 40% in 2 years

2012 Volkswagen GolfThe demonisation of diesel has now reached the used car sector with latest Auto Trader analysis showing a 40 per cent fall in used diesel car searches since 2016.

Despite this, prices are still holding up, with the price of an average secondhand diesel car rising three per cent in 2018.

But diesel’s loss is petrol’s gain: searches for used petrol cars have risen by 43 per cent since 2016, and prices grew five per cent last year.

2015 Ford Fiesta

It means the average petrol car listed on Auto Trader now costs £10,550 – although used diesel cars do still cost more, with an average asking price of £14,390.

Overall, the average secondhand car on Auto Trader, according to analysis of 500,000 daily used car listings and pricing data from 3,000 car dealerships, cost £12,542 in 2018.

That’s a five per cent increase on 2017.

“2018 has been a challenging year for the industry,” said Auto Trader commercial product director Karolina Edwards-Smajda. “However, despite these hurdles, secondhand vehicles are not only holding their value, but are in fact increasing.

“It reflects not only the health of the secondhand car market, but with ever increasing prices, just how fundamental to the buying process finance has become, to both new and used cars.”

Alternatively fuelled vehicles in demand

Toyota Prius Plug-in

Auto Trader also looked at searches for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) – that’s electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, LPG and other ‘green’ fuel types. And the market is growing rapidly; searches have risen 129 per cent in two years.

Narrow it down to just fully electric cars, and Auto Trader searches show a 179 per cent increase.

AFVs now make up 7 per cent of all searches on the used car marketplace and Edwards-Smajda says “we can expect to see this popularity surge significantly in 2019”.

There’s still a way to go before AFVs reach widespread market viability though, due to their high prices. Indeed, the average price of a used AFV actually increased in 2018, to £21,102.

That’s almost twice the price of the average petrol car, and an £8,560 premium on the price of an average used car in Britain.

Overall, petrol cars make up 47 per cent of all Auto Trader fuel type searches, up from just 26 per cent in late 2016. Diesel is moving the other way, dropping from 71 per cent in 2016 to a record low of 47 per cent in December 2018.

“We can now see with real clarity just how negative an impact the fuel debate has had on diesel,” said Edwards-Smajda.