Lower advertised prices played a pivotal role in accelerating the pace of used car sales in March, with vehicles spending an average of just 35 days on physical and virtual forecourts. This marks a decrease of six days compared to February and two days less than the same period last year.

According to MOTORS‘ Market View analysis of March and Q1 trends, all retailing sectors experienced faster month-on-month (MoM) and year-on-year (YoY) sales. Car supermarkets led the pack with vehicles spending just 21 days in stock, down from 29 days in February.

Franchised dealers saw their average days in stock decrease from 34 to 29 compared to February, while independents improved from 56 to 49 days MoM.

The data also revealed that cars priced between £10,000 – £14,999 and £15,000 – £19,999 achieved the fastest sales, averaging 30 and 32 days respectively. Additionally, younger 2 to 5-year-old cars became more affordable, with prices averaging £19,505 in March, down 11% YoY.

The average price of a used car on MOTORS saw a month-on-month dip of just £58 (or 0.6%) to £16,766, marking a 9% decrease YoY. This downward trend has been ongoing since reaching a peak of £18,903 in January 2023.

For the quarter, there was a 4% drop in used car prices compared to Q4 2023.

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While overall dealer stock levels remained stable month-on-month, averaging 42 vehicles, there was a 6% decrease YoY. This suggests dealers are prioritizing replacing sold stock over building inventories.

Car supermarket stocks experienced a 6% decrease MoM and a YoY shortfall of 22%, continuing a downward trend since December 2023.

In terms of fuel types, petrol accounted for 49% of dealer stock, diesel for 39%, hybrid for 7%, and electric for 5%. Diesel models attracted the most ad views from car buyers in March, followed by petrol, hybrid, and electric.

The fastest-selling cars for the month were the electric Audi E-Tron and Polestar 2, both averaging 11 days in stock.

Lucy Tugby, Marketing Director of MOTORS, highlighted the increased appetite of in-market buyers to purchase in March, attributing it to improved days to sell and dealers’ agile sourcing of stock and competitive pricing. She also noted the gradual downward realignment of prices, making younger cars priced under £20,000 more accessible to consumers.

Tugby concluded that the Q1 data indicates opportunities for dealers to succeed by leveraging online exposure and operational excellence to attract, win, and retain customers.

Since 2021, MOTORS has been owned by O3 Industries and Novum Capital.