Used car market remains robust into 2023

Auto Trader data suggests the used car market has entered the New Year in a robust position, with both retail prices and consumer demand stable in December.

Its Retail Price Index found that the average retail price of a used car was £18,030 in December, marking a 3.1% year-on-year (YoY) increase on a like-for like basis.

Although the rate of growth has slowed, the average retail price of a used car in 2022 was a record £17,548, a sharp hike on the £15,204 average price in 2021, which was higher than 2020 (£13,538) and 2019 (£12,999).

Auto Trader’s director of data and insight, Richard Walker, said: “In response to the barrage of negative newspaper headlines, one would be forgiven for predicting the worse for this year. But against a backdrop of political and economic turbulence, used car prices, and the market more broadly, has remained stable, which means we’re starting 2023 in a robust position.

“And whilst the market won’t be immune to financial instability, there’s a range of factors unique to the automotive sector which should insulate it from some of the more extreme economic disruption predicted for 2023. This gives us a cautious but confident outlook for the year ahead.”

Sue Robinson, chief executive of National Franchised Dealers Association, added: “As supply constraints have impacted the availability of new cars reaching forecourts and matching orders, the used car market has flourished in 2022. Auto Trader’s Retail Price Index for December reveals 3.4% year-on-year growth, and a staggering 33 months of consecutive year-on-year growth, highlighting the strength of the used car market. Franchised dealers remain cautiously optimistic going into 2023, that the market will remain in a stable position against the backdrop of economic uncertainty and that demand for vehicles will remain robust.”