Mixed signals in the used car market


Written by: Derren Martin

February 2015 – What’s going on with used cars?


  • Positive picture overall
  • Mixed messages on how strong things actually are!
  • Black Book Live Values moving in both directions

The first two weeks of February have in general proved to be positive for the used car industry. 

Black Book Live has thus far seen a very stable market overall. However, within this is what can best be described as a mixed message, depending on who you speak to, which auction you attend or which model  range you are looking at.

For example, some used car operations are painting a very positive picture – footfall is up year-on-year and month-on-month. Others however are suggesting that margins are being squeezed, due to increased costs of advertising and refurbishing as well as pressure from new car pricing.

When looking at the auctions, some are very well attended and buying activity is at a healthy level, whilst others have reported a drop-off in buyers over the last few days. 

The devil is in the detail and Black Book Live is illustrating that mixed picture. The majority of values are staying level, however to illustrate the market inconsistency you only need to look at a popular model such as the Vauxhall Insignia – on the 2009-2013 production model, so far this month petrol variants have gone up in value, whereas diesels have dropped. Maybe consumers are realising that they do not drive enough miles to make the diesel premium worth paying. 

As can be seen from the movements published so far in February, whilst stability reigns, supply and demand have continued to drive values on certain cars in both directions. However, we have certainly started to notice prices strengthening over the last few days. 

Watch this space – the next few weeks will be particularly interesting to see if this continues. The dynamic may well then change once the new plate month of March is upon us and volumes in the market increase.

Track day-to-day changes in brand and model values using CAP’s Black Book Live

 Take a look at this list which shows more of the mid monthly movements:

Derren Martin, Black Book Senior Editor

"Derren manages the valuation process for current used car values at CAP, which includes managing a team of 7 Black Book Editors who analyse around 120,000 individual sold trade records each month from a wide variety of industry sources. Derren and the team also engage in market insight discussions with various auctions, leasing and rental and remarketing companies and vehicle manufacturers throughout the month. The Black Book Team has around 200 years’ experience working in the automotive industry.”