Young used diesel car stock massively outstripping sales in the UK

Feb 8, 2019   written by Dean Bowkett

The stock of used diesel cars in the UK during November was reasonably well balanced across all ages from 13 months old through to 72 months old but there is a significant stock issue for cars under 12 months old which varies by brand.

Used diesel cars aged between two to four years are responsible for the bulk of online business to consumer (B2C) used car sales, with much of that stock coming from ex-fleet vehicles. However, by November dealers were sitting on 74 days of market days supply (MDS) of used diesel cars aged six-12 months old.

Latest clean Euro-6 diesel engines and CAZ
These younger used diesel cars will all be fitted with the latest clean Euro-6 diesel engines and therefore should not be a problem for any car buyers wishing to use them in the emerging clean air zone (CAZs) regions springing up across the UK. They also meet the requirements for use in London’s Ultra Low Emission ZONE (ULEZ) but INDICATA data has already shown how the political and media spin in the UK is putting car buyers off both new and used diesel cars.

Sales and prices continue to rise
Despite the rhetoric against diesel both sales and prices of online B2C used diesel cars are rising. Sales increased by 3.5% to 392,676 in Q4 2018 whilst prices were around 1.3% higher than a year earlier. But putting that into context, online B2C used petrol car sales grew by 19.3% to 461,996 in Q4 2018 whilst used petrol car prices shot up 6.0%.

This means dealers may well have to consider how quickly and at what price they clear out these young used diesel cars before the market starts to take a downward turn. This issue is also not unique to the UK with other European countries having varying degrees of the same issue and with a variety of different brands.

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Market days supply shows typical year-end rise but petrol rising sharply

Feb 8, 2019   written by Dean Bowkett

2018 ended with the usual rise in market days supply (MDS) as dealers increased their stock levels during the quiet year-end selling months, ready to kick start their new year sales push.

MDS saw the sharpest rise in Germany as online business to consumer (B2C) used car sales fell sharply in Q4, down 7.3% over the previous quarter. There was an 11.1% quarterly fall in used diesel car sales and a drop of five per cent for used petrol car sales. Despite the fall in sales, dealers in Germany have been trying to manage their used car stock levels and are adjusting them for the increasing demand for petrol cars in the used market.

Online stock of used diesel lowers
At the end of December 2018 online stock of used diesel cars in Germany were 18% lower than the same period in 2017 whilst petrol vehicle stock levels were up 11.8%.

At the end of 2018, year-on-year MDS fell in Germany (-2.4%), the UK (-6.3%) and Italy (-17.1%) which could be an indication dealers are worried about used car buying demand falling in 2019.

MDS up by 15.6% in Spain
In contrast, MDS was 15.6% up in December 2018 year-on-year in Spain as demand switched from used cars into new cars leaving dealers with an excess of used stock, even though the stock of online B2C used cars in Spain was 18.2% lower by the year end.

A deep dive into INDICATA’s data in the last newsletter revealed that the problem in Spain was being caused by diesel cars. Dealers seem to have realised the change in market demand with the stock of online B2C used diesel cars at the end of the year down 21.1% year-on-year whilst petrol car stock levels fell by just 11.4%.

Petrol MDS rises in France
MDS also rose in France, increasing by 6.8% for the whole used car market with petrol MDS rising by 8.1% in December 2018 compared to December 2017. France has historically always been Europe’s strongest diesel market but used diesel car MDS hit a record 72.55 in December 2018 which is a third higher than the 54.31 MDS for petrol used cars – an indication of how much quicker French dealers are able to sell the relatively short supply of used petrol cars.

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New car sales outperform used car sales in three of the five biggest car markets

Feb 8, 2019   written by Dean Bowkett

According to INDICATA data, 2018 saw 12.2 million online business to consumer (B2C) used cars sales compared to just 11.2 million new car sales in Europe’s five largest car markets.

This was heavily influenced by used car sales in the two largest markets of Germany and the UK where used car sales are running at a rate of 1.5 online B2C used cars for every one new car.

New sales continue to outperform used
In France, Italy and Spain the new car sales continue to outperform the used car market despite the hiatus caused by Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) in the second half of the year.

The 12.2 million used car sales was supported by a 3.8% increase in Q4 sales as total online B2C used car sales in the five countries topped 2.9 million in the last three months of the year.

Diesel demand continues to fall
Demand for diesel continues to fall in Europe, with diesel marketshare dropping 4.6% by December 2018 compared to December 2017 for the big five markets combined. Four of the five markets saw diesel marketshare fall between 2017 and 2018 with Italy being the exception as online B2C used diesel car sales marginally increased marketshare by 0.6% to 68.5% of all used car sales.

Sales down by 30.5% in Spain
Whilst not instantly obvious from the chart due to the scale, not only is stock influencing market days supply (MDS) in Spain but so is used car sales. Online B2C used car sales in Spain were down 28.9% in December 2018 over the same month in 2017 with Q4 sales in 2018 down 30.5% over Q4 2017.

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Diesel marketshare stabilising in the B2C used car market

Feb 8, 2019   written by Dean Bowkett

The sharp decline in new diesel car sales is still not having a dramatic effect on the used car market according to the latest INDICATA data.

Whilst used diesel cars now represent just under half of all online business to consumer (B2C) used car sales, compared to a 54.3% marketshare at the end of 2017, the rate of marketshare decline has slowed down and stabilised since August 2018.

B2C used diesel sales top 1.4 million
Quarter 4 2018 saw total online B2C used diesel car sales top 1.4 million across all five markets compared to 1.5 million for Q4 2017 but, after a two per cent fall from Q4 2017 to Q1 2018, diesel marketshare fell at a rate of just one per cent for the three remaining quarters with December seeing a slight increase in diesel marketshare.

Despite diesel marketshare in the online B2C sales market falling in four of the five major European markets it is still the most popular in three of them. In Spain 71.3% of online B2C used car sales in December were diesel according to INDICATA data. Italian diesel cars took 68.5% of the December market, whilst in France used diesel cars accounted for 65.1% of the online B2C used car market.

Absolute diesel volumes falling in some markets
Online B2C used diesel car’s absolute volumes are also falling in some markets. Total sales for Q4 2018 were down by 17.2% in Germany compared to Q4 2017 and 32.1% down over the same period in Spain. However, the other three countries all saw total diesel car sales volumes in the online B2C market increase between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018. Italy saw an additional 15,690 diesel cars sold, an increase of 7.2%; whilst the UK saw a 3.5% increase, equating to an extra 13,113 units; and France sales rose by 2.7% to 335,087 online B2C used diesel car sales in Q4 2018.

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French used car buyers paying a premium for petrol

Feb 8, 2019   written by Dean Bowkett


Diesel cars are continuing to be priced, on average, at a premium in the German market according to the analysis from INDICATA. This comes despite online business to consumer (B2C) used diesel car sales seeing marketshare erode in favour of petrol cars and total sales falling in absolute terms.

Whilst market day supply (MDS) for diesel cars was higher than for petrol in Germany for the first half of 2018 dealers seemed to take steps to change it with used diesel cars running at an average 2.2 days lower than petrol cars from June to December 2018.

But diesel prices in Germany have started to ease back and are now at their lowest level since July 2018. Meanwhile, average online B2C used petrol car prices have been steadily increasing and by December 2018 were at a 12-month high of €20,972.

Italian diesel demand remains strong
In Italy demand for diesel remains strong with used diesel car sales still well ahead of used petrol cars but it is in online B2C used petrol cars where prices are rising the fastest. MDS in Italy saw used diesel cars hit 80.39 days in December 2018 compared to just 72.24 days for petrol. This was a key factor in the increase in used petrol prices and also resulted in the premium for diesel reducing to €950 by the end of 2018.

French market changing
The used car market in France may still be dominated by used diesel cars but the gap between the MDS of petrol cars (54.31 days) compared to diesel cars (72.55 days) shows that the market is changing. With such a difference in MDS it is not surprising that the average online B2C used petrol car prices are now showing a premium over used diesel cars.

Even in the J-segment, which is the term used by INDICATA for SUVs, INDICATA’s price index shows that average online B2C used diesel car prices have fallen in 2018 whilst used petrol car prices have risen.

The Paris ban on pre-2005 diesel cars entering the city, along with the proposed 2024 ban on all diesel cars is the perfect example of why we are seeing such a strong increase in the price of used petrol cars in France and why this shows little sign of changing anytime soon.

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Market days supply sees break from seasonal trend

Dec 6, 2018   written by Autorola

Heading into the final quarter of 2018 and dealers are usually looking to increase their used stock levels to meet the sales rush in January. However, the 1 September introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) saw dealers with a glut of zero miles cars in stock that they have been concentrating on selling. The result is a break from the normal seasonal trend, with market days supply (MDS) falling in most countries.

Italy turning stock faster 
For example, the Italian market has gone from 105 days supply in August to just 66 days by the end of October meaning it is now turning its used car stock at a faster rate than Germany. 

By contrast the Spanish market has failed to see levels fall below 70 days since February 2018.

Diesel impacts Spanish stock levels
Drilling deeper into Indicata’s data by fuel type and you can see that the challenge in Spain can be specifically linked to diesel stock levels. Used car buyers are increasingly looking for petrol cars over diesel in many segments. But MDS is just part of the picture and you need to also consider sales trends to see the full supply and demand picture in each market.

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European new car sales impacted by WLTP introduction

Oct 11, 2018   written by Autorola
After three consecutive months of growth, culminating in a 28.1% increase in new car sales for the European Union’s biggest five car markets (Big 5) in August 2018, the true impact of the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) saw sales plummet 22.3% in September.

At the end of the first half of 2018, the Big 5 were up 1.0% although this was mainly due to the drag caused by the decline in the UK car market. However, the move to WLTP for all new cars registered since September 2018 saw a flurry of day registrations or pre-registrations across Europe.

New car sales stall on WLTP introduction
Excluding the UK, the remaining 4 major European car markets were up 3.2% for the first six months of the year. But by the end of August, the same four markets were up 6.6%, with the UK dragging the overall August year-to-date (YTD) growth down to 4.3%, but still well above the 1.0% growth for the first half of 2018.

The introduction of WLTP from 1st September has meant manufacturers are unable to sell vehicles which have not yet been tested and this has resulted in a significant number of models being unavailable to order or with very long lead times. Manufacturers are removing some models or derivatives which require re-engineering to get a good result under the new test procedures. Other manufacturers are waiting in long queues for their models to be tested by the official regulatory bodies before they can sell them.

Downturn in new car sales set to continue
With dealer’s stocking plans full of day registrations and long lead times on quite a few models and derivatives the downturn in new car sales is expected to continue for the remaining three months and even extend into 2019 for some brands.

Following the drop in September, new car sales for first three quarters of the year for the Big 5 are up 0.8%. At a country level Spain is still seeing the strongest growth up 11.5% after nine months, followed by France up 6.5% with Germany third as sales growth is now just 2.4%. The political turmoil in Italy has seen sales go into reverse with total sales for the first three quarters of 2018 now down 3.0% over the same period last year; whilst the UK new cars sales continue to drop sharply with sales now down 7.5%.

The WLTP effect means the Big 5 are likely to sales falling sales for the remainder of the year and end the year down 1.9% which equates to an average 11.2% fall for the final quarter.

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Used car sales in the UK increase by 7% in October

Dec 6, 2018   written by Autorola

In the recent Indicata Automotive Market Trends Report November Fleet Europe special we showed how the data can be useful in analysing market days’ supply and contrasting stock levels against sales to give an average ratio. This month we thought it would be useful to show how quickly, or slowly things can change.

Sales up, stocks static
Across the UK B2C used car market total sales in October for the 15 brands shown in the chart rose by seven per cent to 286,014 units over the previous month, whilst online stock levels were up just 0.7% to 420,720 cars according to Indicata’s database.

This pushed up the average sales/stock ratio to 68% from 64% last month as dealers pushed sales hard in the run-up to the Christmas break.

Ford holds top-spot but ratios slip
Ford remained the highest selling B2C used car brand by volume, although sales fell two per cent in October. Vauxhall retained second place in volume terms with 34,052 B2C used car sales, whilst Volkswagen leapfrogged BMW to take third place with 27,917 cars, almost eight per cent more than BMW.

Looking at the sales-to-stock ratio, Ford slipped to second place behind Volkswagen which achieved a 77% sales/stock ratio compared to 75.6% for Ford. Some 18.7% separated Volkswagen at the top and MINI at the bottom of the 15 brands.

Data analysis key to avoiding risks
The key to ensuring the right stock and sales mix is to drill down deeper into Indicata’s data and analyse the vehicles at a model and fuel type by region. This will avoid the risks of overpaying for slow-moving vehicles and getting the right cars in the right place to meet demand.

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B2C used petrol car prices rising sharply in Spain

Dec 6, 2018   written by Autorola

With petrol MDS falling sharply in Spain but diesel B2C used car market share remaining high, the next logical place to look at Indicata’s data is used car pricing by fuel type.

Since October 2017 the average B2C used petrol car price in Spain has risen by 39.6% to €27,931 compared to an average 6.5% rise seen in used petrol prices in the other four large European markets.

Rising petrol prices well ahead of diesel
The rise in petrol prices are well ahead of diesel which rose 8.1% over the last year in Spain and three per cent across all five markets. The trend was depressed by a 1.9% fall in the Italian diesel B2C used car prices where compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are becoming increasingly popular.

Used petrol cars are also gaining popularity in Italy with prices rising 8.1% in October 2018 compared to October 2017, making it the second highest rising market after Spain.

C-segment petrol prices rise sharply
The medium sized car C-segment is very popular in most countries. A review of the Indicata Index shows how B2C used petrol car prices have been rising sharply during the second half of 2018 in Spain compared to the decline in average diesel used car prices throughout the year.

The same pattern can even be seen in the Spanish SUV segment as demand for the smaller petrol SUVs have seen used prices rising against falling diesel used car values.

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Germany’s new car sales fall as B2C used car sales rise

Dec 6, 2018   written by Autorola

The slump in new car sales in Germany following the introduction of WLTP in September has seen the sale of business to consumer (B2C) used cars continue to rise once the traditional holiday season slump has been normalised.

The new car sales fall in September, a result of the WLTP introduction, meant German dealers and traders sold 2.1 used cars for every single new car. Whilst October saw that gap close to 1.7 it was still 10% higher than October 2017 and well above the 1.4 average for the first half of the year. 

Demand strong for petrol
Demand in the German used car market has been particularly strong for petrol cars where B2C used car sales have risen by 15.7% in October 2018, compared to the same month last year. By comparison, diesel B2C used car sales fell by 14.8% according to the latest Indicata data.

The UK is the other European country where traders and dealers usually sell significantly more used than new cars. It has been running at an average of 1.9 B2C used cars for every new car this year.

In the remaining three largest European car markets – France, Italy and Spain – used car sales generally followed their usual seasonal patterns, although France has yet to recover from the impact of WLTP and used cars continue to outsell new cars.

Spanish car buyers more willing to buy new
The conservative decision by Spanish car buyers to buy used instead of new cars during the height of its economic crisis continues to unwind as car buyer prosperity is leading to growing new car sales. The net effect is B2C used car sales are continuing to fall, but even in a market like Spain, which has been quite resilient against the diesel backlash, diesel is taking the brunt of the decline falling 28.9% in October 2018 versus October 2017, whilst petrol used car sales dropped 25.3% over the same period.

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