Car finance marketplace, Zuto, reported record levels of applications for the weeks following Christmas 2022, with the trend continuing through January 2023. saw a week-on-week increase of 44% in applications between 26 December 2022 and 2 January 2023 – a significant uplift from an already busy previous week.

The company said Google searches relating to car finance are also up 37% year-on-year for the period 1st January – 11th January 2022, “illustrating a buoyant start to the year for the market as a whole.”

Lucy Sherliker, head of customer at Zuto, said: “The week between Christmas and New Year is a popular time for people to look into purchasing a used car, but this season has been exceptional. The industry typically experiences a decline in interest through December as people focus their energy and spending on Christmas. Then, with time off work and in preparation for the year ahead, people start looking for the car they need and for ways to make it affordable.

“There could be several factors at play in making this period so exceptional. With the cost-of-living crisis and high second-hand car prices, people are less likely to be able to make a bulk, upfront payment. But people still need a vehicle. For many of our customers, they rely on their car for work and transporting family members – it is not a luxury.”

Data collected from Zuto customers who applied for finance in January 2023 shows a rise in people buying a car for work: 25% cited this as their reason for purchase. Needing to replace a previous car is the top answer.

The latest figures from Auto Trader’s Retail Price Index in December show that used car prices have increased 3.4% year-on-year, with the average price of a used vehicle advertised on Auto Trader currently at £18,030.

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