It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the automotive and mobility sectors. However, it’s said to be the golden age for used cars, and while non-essential retail, such as car showrooms, must currently close, click & collect is allowed, so there’s cautious optimism in the air.

How have the events of 2020 affected the choice of used cars, and what can dealers take to help inform and drive sales this year?

Top 10 choices

At Dealer Auction, it’s no secret that we passionately believe data is a key driver to success, helping buyers and sellers make smarter and more profitable decisions when it comes to used car stock.

Here are some interesting used car data from the Dealer Auction platform in 2020:

Top 10 make/model

  1. Nissan Qashqai
  2. Ford Fiesta
  3. Vauxhall Corsa
  4. Ford Focus
  5. Vauxhall Astra
  6. Nissan Juke
  7. Volkswagen Golf
  8. Renault Clio
  9. Honda Civic
  10. MINI Hatchback

The original crossover popular with families, the Nissan Qashqai is one of the UK’s bestselling cars, so it’s no surprise to see it at the top of the board – the fact that it’s UK-built, and always has been, means the brand always attracts plenty of interest. While it’s a little larger than a hatchback, it’s no more expensive, plus it comes with an impressive array of gadgets and safety features, meaning it’s one of the safest cars in its class. And, to top off this success story, it was also named Auto Trader’s Best Car for City Drivers 2020.

Hot on its heels is, of course, the great all-rounder that is the Ford Fiesta – said to be the UK’s bestselling car ever and Autocar’s Britain’s Best Small Car of 2020. In third place is one of Britain’s most successful small cars that appeals to a wide audience – the Vauxhall Corsa. Often a fast mover from the forecourt, this supermini no doubt rates highly, thanks to its simple mechanicals, attractive bodyshell and solid-build quality – all for a terrific value.

These results may come as no surprise to you – when it comes to used cars, model choices will ultimately always come down to quality and affordability, which apply to all of our top 10 models. After all, a preowned car is a commitment, unlike a new or leased car.

Top 10 most popular colours

  1. Black
  2. Silver
  3. Blue
  4. Grey
  5. White
  6. Red
  7. Green
  8. Multicolour
  9. Brown
  10. Orange

Car colour matters, and it’s clear to see that black has been the all-out winner for used cars in 2020, with silver neatly tucking into second place, followed by blue and grey, as Fleet News can also confirm, based on statistics from earlier on in 2020. After red, in sixth place, the other colour choices represent less than 1% of the range.

These ‘plain’, or some might say cautious, colour choices at the top of the chart are a smart choice for new-car buyers, and likely to generate strong second-hand prices, as they have a broader appeal when it comes to trade-in. They’ve consistently proved popular over the years and, as fashions and tastes change, they can be expected to lead the trend in the near future.

That said, dealers have more control and creativity on the used car side of the market, and so the rarer colours, such as orange or yellow, could actually have an impact, raising the resale value of the car – perhaps likelier in the case of a more exclusive model.

Top 10 by fuel type

  1. Vauxhall Corsa (petrol)
  2. Ford Fiesta (petrol)
  3. Ford Focus (petrol)
  4. Nissan Qashqai (petrol)
  5. Vauxhall Astra (petrol)
  6. Nissan Juke (petrol) / Nissan Qashqai (diesel)
  7. Renault Clio (petrol)
  8. MINI Hatchback (petrol)
  9. Honda Jazz (petrol)
  10. Toyota Yaris (petrol)

According to data on our top 10 cars according to fuel type, petrol is the loud and proud winner. Petrol cars are more efficient than they used to be and are cheaper to run, which again ties in exactly with what a used car buyer is looking for.

Diesel demand has fallen during the pandemic, and whereas the government previously offered tax incentives for diesel vehicles, they are not as economical nor environmentally friendly as once thought.

Many people are making fewer and shorter journeys during the COVID-19 crisis, and so this too will drive higher demand for used petrol cars over diesel. Other deciding factors behind this are that, per litre, they are more economical to run, they tend to be less noisy than diesel cars, and the resale value is generally higher.

However, both petrol and diesel new car sales will be banned as of 2035, which will shift such results later down the line, as more people will be incentivised to opt for new electric cars, which will enter the used car market in years to come. The future of the fuel type category will continue to evolve, but as things stand, it would appear that petrol is here to stay.

Back up your instincts

Most UK dealers cautiously believe that the used car market will go from strength to strength this year, despite the ongoing forces of COVID-19 and Brexit at play, with increased volumes and values. The Cox Automotive Insight Report 2020 urges dealers to plan for the short term, and evolve with the ever-changing market.

The importance of real-time data as proven in 2020 cannot be rivalled, especially with a number of unusual external factors influencing the used car industry, namely COVID-19 and Brexit, both of which are set to continue for some time. So, although knowing the ‘top 10’ models sold is interesting, knowing what someone is looking for in your area right now is much more valuable, and you can be sure that Dealer Auction is with you every step of the way.

If you want to know more about how data can help you sell more cars, quicker and profitably, get in touch with us here.

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