Revealed – a strange regional pattern in the cars UK motorists want to swap

How Britain valued cars in September: a nation divided along geographic lines between Vauxhall, BMW & Ford.  Source: consumer valuations at

A STRANGE pattern in the plans of UK motorists to sell or trade in their cars has been revealed by the independent car information experts, CAP Automotive.

The cars people most wanted to sell in September aligned almost perfectly with the points of the compass, with Vauxhall dominating the north and east, BMW ruling the south and Ford prevailing in the west.

The unexpected findings come from analysis of almost 15,000 car valuations consumers conducted over 30 days, with a view to selling or trading in their existing car.

When CAP’s experts crunched the numbers they found an almost perfect three-way split in motorists’ car disposal plans.

In Scotland, the North East, Yorkshire & Humberside and the East Midlands more motorists valued Vauxhall Corsas and Astras to sell than any other brand.

The BMW 3 Series dominated the selling intentions of motorists in East Anglia, London, the South East and the South West. BMW also took the lion’s share of valuations for sale in the West Midlands.

But in Wales, the North West and Northern Ireland it was Fords that consumers most wanted to sell or trade in.

More than a million motorists have used CAP’s valuation service at since the company began to offer independent advice on car values and ownership costs last year. But this is the first time such a clear regional divide has been identified among one group of consumers – those valuing their own car with a view to buying another.

CAP’s experts are now waiting to see if the pattern is repeated to identify whether September’s valuations represent a trend or simply a random statistical cluster.

They are also analysing the valuations motorists are carrying out with a view to purchasing the cars, to see if there are regional variations in the car-buying tastes of consumers.

CAP’s retail and consumer expert, Philip Nothard, said: “September was not just a record-breaking month for new car sales, it revealed a pattern among motorists looking to sell a car that frankly surprised us.

“Of course, we would always expect highly popular cars like the Vauxhall Astra and Corsa or Ford’s Fiesta and Focus to feature highly in any analysis of this kind simply because they are so common.  And even seeing the BMW 3 Series featuring so strongly does not surprise us because that’s a model that has gone mainstream in terms of volume over recent years.

“But seeing the country divided so clearly along regional lines between Vauxhall, Ford and BMW certainly gave us a surprise.

“For dealers this suggests that what they can expect to be offered in part-exchange will vary by region. And it might just be that anyone seeking the richest pickings among used car choice could do better by looking outside their own area instead of assuming used cars are evenly spread around the country.”