Used car sales statistics for the first quarter 2009 in the UK published by Experian show that, although used car sales were 5 percent lower than in Q1 2008, sales were up 17 percent on the previous quarter (1 October – 31 December (Q4) 2008). This represents the largest Q4 to Q1 increase since 2003/04.
Q1 sales MPV’s shot up by 40 percent compared with the previous quarter, with newer models the most popular. Sales of MPVs less than three years old were up 50 percent on Q4 2008. MPVs were the only segment to see a year-on-year increase in sales, up 15 percent on Q1 2008.
While sales of all other segments fell year-on-year, the biggest decline was in the used mini segment (down 13 percent). The smallest decline came from the used sports segments, which were down less than one percent. This segment saw the second largest Q4 2008 to Q1 2009 increase – up 25 percent.
All makes saw significant increases from Q4 2008 to Q1 2009, with the biggest increases coming from Citroen, Renault and Nissan. However, year-on-year, used cars from all manufacturers saw their sales fall. After Rover, Fiat saw the highest decline in used car sales (down 10 percent). Meanwhile, sales of used Volkswagen cars held up the best – down by less than one percent.
Kirk Fletcher, Managing Director of Experian’s Business Information and Automotive businesses, comments: “This is the clearest indication so far that consumers are slowly beginning to spend again in the used car market and it also reflects the anecdotal feedback we are getting from dealers. The increase in sales on Q4 2008, led by MPVs, is a positive development, and whilst year-on-year sales were down, the decline was not as severe as many in the industry had been expecting.
“There have been high number of new MPVs launched over the last few years, including the Ford C Max and S Max, Mercedes-Benz B and R classes and Toyota’s Verso range, and this innovation is helping to drive the popularity of this type of vehicle. The increasing number of diesel engine options in the sports segment may be one of reasons for that segment’s success.”