Used car sales increase following Government advice to avoid pubic transport

Published 23 October 2020
Demand for used cars is 15 per cent higher than it was at this time last year, new data from AA Cars has revealed. The upward trend coincides with a decline in sales of new cars.

Drivers’ interest in used cars spiked to over nine per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels when forecourts reopened in June, but the new analysis shows that demand has continued to pick up since then. Some areas, such as Glasgow, saw demand rise by almost a third (32.2 per cent). 

AA Cars analysed searches made on its platform in September for used vehicles in 48 major UK towns and cities. Across the UK, demand was 15 per cent higher than the level recorded in September 2019. In Crawley, the area with the biggest increase in demand, searches had doubled compared to last year. 

Meanwhile, sales of brand new cars fell by 4.4 per cent in September compared to the same month in 2019. September is typically a high point for sales as new registration plates are introduced, but this September saw the lowest number of new registrations in two decades, according to SMMT data.   

It’s widely thought that Government guidance for people to avoid public transport led more Britons to consider buying a car. Department for Transport data shows car use hit 92% of normal levels during September, while the use of National Rail only reached 40 per cent of normal journeys. 

Top 10 areas with the biggest increase in searches from September 2019 to September 2020

Town/city

% change in searches in Sept 2020 compared to Sept 2019 

% change in searches in Sept 2020 compared to June 2020 

Crawley

102.30%

26.50%

Glasgow

96.70%

32.20%

Cardiff

70.60%

21.40%

Cheltenham

63.90%

12.50%

Bournemouth

52.00%

-2.20%

Preston

51.80%

34.60%

Mansfield

51.30%

29.00%

Kingston upon Hull

48.70%

8.50%

Sheffield

38.40%

3.50%

Basingstoke

34.40%

0.20%

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars said: "With many people worried about their finances, it is more important than ever that drivers take care when buying a used car. We recommend buying only from a reputable dealer, and having a car independently inspected to ensure there are no major problems which could prove costly down the line. A warranty can provide extra peace of mind to those worried about having to pay for expensive repairs if something does go wrong with their car."

>> Everything you need to know about buying a used car

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