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Premium 4X4s and SUVs lead fastest selling used cars in March as lockdown buyers focus on aspirational purchases

  • Volkswagen Touareg fastest selling used car on Motors.co.uk in March
  • Average days to sell drop 8% month-on-month to 45.6 days
  • Month-on-month stock volumes remain steady at 50.2 units

1 April 2021: Premium brand 4X4s and SUVs dominated the fastest selling used cars in March as buyers, cooped up in lockdown, turned their attention to aspirational purchases.

According to eBay Motors Group's Market View, Volkswagen's Touareg was the fastest selling model in March, taking an average of just 29 days to sell.

Also among the top 10 fastest sellers were the Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLE, BMW X4, Audi Q7 and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Source: Motors.co.uk data

Average days to sell dropped 8% in March to 45.6 days from 49.5 days in both February and January. Franchised dealers led the way with cars averaging 44.6 days in stock, a month-on-month decrease of 9%. Supermarkets dropped 5.1% to 50.1 days, while independents remained on a par with February at 48.1 days.

The fastest selling used cars were recorded in Scotland, with dealers averaging just 33 days to sell.

Improved days to sell were powered by high levels of consumer activity across the eBay Motors Group platforms which saw a 50% year-on-year rise in dealer leads.

"With the UK in lockdown throughout March, the used car market continued to show remarkable resilience with dealers achieving their fastest stock turns so far this year on the back of high levels of online consumer activity," said Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group.

"For some buyers the long months of lockdown, missed holidays and unexpected financial savings, have prompted aspirational purchases of premium brand 4X4s and SUVs.

"Overall, our March analysis reflects a strong desire among buyers to research and complete purchases as the UK prepares to move out of lockdown," said Kelleher.

Average prices, having risen in February, dipped 0.8% for the top 50 cars by make and model, from £12,784 to £12,684. Supermarkets bucked the trend with an average rise of 1.2% to £12,224, while franchised and independent dealers saw marginal drops of 0.3% and 0.1% respectively.

Average month-on-month stock levels remained virtually unchanged at 50.2 units, compared to 50.6 in February. Franchised sites increased their inventory from 49.5 to 51.3 units, while independents dropped from 50.5 to 47.7 units and supermarkets dipped from 349 to 341 units.

"With lockdown restrictions now being eased and buyers able to return to dealer forecourts in April, we're encouraged by just how strong online activity and enquiries have performed throughout Q1, suggesting a positive start for dealers once they're able to engage with customers face to face," said Kelleher.

Petrol continues to be the fuel of choice for used car buyers, accounting for 54% of all dealer stock and 51.4% of online vehicle views. Interest in diesel continues to drop, accounting for 42.7% of dealer stock and 46.2% of vehicle views. However, diesels are the fastest selling used cars taking 42.3 days to sell, compared with 47.1 for petrol.

Despite legislative moves towards the electrification of the new car market by 2030, demand for used EVs continues to be low.

In March EVs accounted for just 1.1% of dealer stock and 0.7% of views, taking an average of 56.6 days to sell.

"EVs continue to be relatively expensive in the used car market, compared to similar petrol or diesel models, an issue compounded by ongoing concerns among buyers about battery range and the rollout recharging infrastructure, meaning for now at least they remain a very small part of the used market" said Kelleher.  

Hybrids fared little better than EVs, making up 2.3% of stock, 1.6% of online views and averaging 67.7 days to sell.

Data source: Motors.co.uk Data, eBay Motors Group Data Warehouse, March 2021 vs. February 2021 and March 2020.