Since Christmas consumers have been spending more on cars, marking the big end of the festive season with a surge in car sales last year.
The majority of all new cars bought in 2018 were older than two years and this trend towards older car sales continued in January with many dealers reporting increases in used car prices as the new year got underway.
Analysis by car dealer chain AA of its sales shows that the average selling price of a new car in January was £26,000, up £500 on a year ago. The average selling price for a used car was £18,300.
Andrew Ratcliffe, an AA spokesman, said: “Cars are trending younger and younger with traditional values like fuel efficiency increasingly being secondary to comfort, safety, practicality and perceived cool features. In the smart compact sector the average age is five and will continue to rise until it’s older than five years. This trend is highlighted by the fact that our fastest growing market was for cars priced over £15,000 which is traditionally your market for the first six months of the year.
“In reality, these larger vehicles are where most of the smart generation are buying and even this segment is now more female-focused as it is seen as a status symbol, and these women are usually younger and more educated than their male counterparts. Car sales figures are underpinned by consumer confidence and consumer confidence is up and sentiment is positive, which will continue to support strong car sales in the year ahead.”
Tina Shealey, a leading buying agent with Your Classic Vauxhall, said: “When sales pick up, cars become harder to find with dealers and such high demand. It can be like getting a black lottery ticket. We sold a car last month for £35,000 which we didn’t expect to sell. This is not a huge amount for a car with a average price of £16,000. I was shocked by this.”