Buyers' advice, diesel, industry, Motoring News

UK still wants diesels – new OR used. Will SA listen?

  • Used diesel-car prices robust in March despite challenges
  • Alternatively-fuelled vehicles a record 5% of all searches
  • Average price used car increased 6% year-on-year

LONDON, England – According to the latest (April 2018) results from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index the average price of a used car continued to rise on a year-on-year basis through March.

And, contrary to the desires of the government’s anti-oilburner crew, used diesel car prices recording the highest level of growth since May 2015. In 2017 the  UK announced it would put pressure on the use – perhaps even ban – diesel cars DESPITE data that has shown petrol is more air-polluting than diesel.

The average price of a used car in March 2018 was £12 732, six percent more than in March 2017 on a ”like-for-like” basis (stripping out the impact of changes in the mix of cars being sold).


This followed similar growth through January and February, according to Auto Trader, which analyses data from around 500 000 trade used-car listings every day, as well as additional dealer forecourt and website data (OEM, fleet and leasing disposal prices).

Karolina Edwards-Smajda

That’s in addition to price data from more than 3000 car dealers’ websites and from major auction houses across the UK. Auto Trader is the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace  with more than 450 000 cars listed everyday.

Used diesel price-growth continues.


While new diesel registrations continue to fall, Auto Trader says, prices for used diesels are increasing and recorded year-on-year growth of three percent in March on a like-for-like basis (stripping out the impact of changes in the mix of cars being sold).

March, while broadly in line with the three-percent growth recorded in January and February, saw the greatest price growth since May 2015.

The average cost of a used diesel vehicle on Auto Trader was £14 453 in March, a £53 month-on-month increase and a £905 rise on the £13 548 recorded in March 2017.

However, the proportion of searches for diesel vehicles on the platform decreased in March from 53% to a record low of 51%, as consumers moved towards petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles. Searches for diesel vehicles have fallen dramatically in recent years, dropping from 71% in November 2016.


On average, 21% of all searches on Auto Trader each month are based on fuel type. Although diesel remains the most searched-for fuel type, the proportion of searches for petrol vehicles increased last month from 43% to 45%.

Growth in used petrol prices continues to outstrip diesel, with year-on-year growth of 10% in March on a like-for-like basis. The average cost of a used petrol car last month stood at £10 712, a £21 month-on-month decrease, but a significant £1704 jump compared to March 20172.

Karolina Edwards-Smajda (pictured above), Auto Trader’s retailer and consumer product director, said “It’s encouraging to see yet more evidence that used diesel prices are holding up, month-on-month and year-on-year, despite lower numbers of new diesel registrations.

”However, we have seen price growth start to flatten for diesel and overall, since the end of 2017.”


She added that buyers’ faith in diesel products ”has been significantly affected” by anti-diesel rhetoric and a lack of clarity about the benefits and drawbacks of diesel vs other fuel types.

”A huge number of consumers have,” she added, ”been deterred from diesel but don’t realise that modern Euro 6 technology can be significantly more fuel-efficient, and often more environmentally-friendly, than petrol.”

It’s a lesson South Africa should take to heart…

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