A consumer talking to a sales person

Used car sales hit six-year high, nudge pre-recession levels in 2014

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Almost 7 million used vehicles were sold in the UK in 2014, culminating in a six-year high, according to an Experian study of DVLA change of ownership data, says Motor Trader.

Despite a small dip in the market in the fourth quarter, a total of 6.89 million used vehicles changed hands – not far off the 7.21 million used vehicles sold back in 2008.

A line up of car at a dealership at nightBoth retail and private sales of used cars were strong during the first three quarters of last year. They reached their highest point since 2008, increasing by 1.18% from the 6.81 million vehicles that were shifted in 2013.
Sales slowed at the end of the year though, dipping -0.21% in the fourth quarter to 1,528,194 from 1,531,348 in the same period of 2013.

The Greater London region saw the biggest increase in annual used car sales, with a rise of 2.25% during 2014 compared to 2013. East Anglia experienced a decline in sales, the only region to do so. Here, sales fell by 5.24% compared to 2013.

The figures are encouraging for used car traders - although sales have not yet recovered to pre-recession levels, said Andrew Ballard, Experian automotive director.

Used car dealers have responded to a more cautious market, and this appears to be paying off, he commented. Car buyers are changing. People are thinking beyond the initial purchase price and more about the monthly impact and affordability of owning and operating a car. Motor traders have responded by offering service and warranty packages alongside more flexible car finance for used vehicles, giving people confidence their investment will provide value in the long-term.

Ballard advised national dealer groups not to treat any two areas the same. "Gaining a greater understanding of the evolving needs of people living within their area will help to ensure cars spend less time on their forecourt," he added.

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