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Are used car prices in the UK fair?

  Friday, 16 December 2022

Are you thinking about buying a used car, but not sure about why prices are so high in the UK at the moment? There’s quite a few reasons why, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get a good deal.

Find out how to make sure you’re seeing the right average used car prices, and what options you have.

Why are prices so high right now?

Fuel prices and the cost of household gas are at a record high, so it perhaps won’t surprise you to know that the cost-of-living crisis has also spread to the second-hand car market.

According to the latest figures from Auto Trader, used car prices rose 28% year on year in May 2022, with the average used car price now £17,385. That’s £3,400 higher than a year ago. This has also pushed prices of some family-friendly models, having doubled in that same period. So why are these price increases happening?

Post-lockdown boom

In the immediate periods after the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, car sales surged. Demand was high from consumers who not only had more opportunities to get to dealerships but were using their cars more. After a short burst of frenzied activity, manufacturing was struggling to keep up with the demand.

Global chip shortage

Factories took a long time to get back to pre-Covid levels of activity. More seriously, the supply issues affecting the electronic industry have massively impacted car production. The lack of electronic components available to manufacturers mean that there have been huge falls in the number of new vehicles coming onto the car market. People are turning to the used sector instead, and the rise in demand is having a rather obvious effect on prices.

Demand is high, stock is low

Due to the quiet new car market, fewer used cars are being traded in than normal. According to a recent poll of 2,000 UK drivers by Opinium on behalf of the insurance provider GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection), half of the motorists surveyed said they were hanging onto their current cars longer than they usually would. There are simply not the new cars about for them to be traded in for. So, prices are rising because stocks of used vehicles are so low.

There’s no need to despair, though. If you are looking to save money and buy a used car, you could check out our online auction. Over 2,500 damage-repairable vehicles are added weekly. All our reserve prices are fair, and the vehicles are a mix of different levels of damaged stock – some minor. Check out our guide to buying a salvage car, if you’re unsure.

Man talking to a woman in a used car sales room

How can you tell you are getting a fair price?

So how can you judge if a price for a used car is reasonable or not? You could use tools like Auto Trader’s price indicator, a colour-coded price rating scale that tells you if a price is Low, Great, Good, Fair or High.

You could also use any one of the industry-standard car value guides, such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.

Don’t get taken for a ride by car dealers or private sellers. Refer to the tried and trusted metrics: mileage, service history and condition. If a car just doesn’t look the price that you are being quoted, it probably isn’t.

Get a fair price for your used car at ASM

If you are looking to get a good deal for your used car before buying another, why not try ASM Auto Recycling? We buy vehicles in any condition. Even if your car has failed its MOT, suffered significant damage or is no longer roadworthy, we will offer you a fair price for it, and even collect it from you!

The only details we need from you are the registration number of the car, your postcode, email address and phone number. If you can provide any photos of the vehicle that will help with our valuation.

We offer a hassle-free, speedy way to get a good price for your car. We are an authorised and regulated scrap yard with decades of experience in car buying. Get your instant online valuation from us today.

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