Sales of used cars fell 3 per cent in the third quarter of 2007
with younger cars suffering the biggest fall, according to latest
statistics from data company Experian. The fall was the biggest
decline in third quarter used car sales in eight years.
Sales of cars aged below three years fell 8 per cent
compared with the same quarter in 2006.
“By the time the third quarter had begun, the base rate
had already risen five times to 5.75 per cent – its highest level
since spring 2001 – so consumers were feeling the squeeze on their
finances,” said Kirk
Fletcher, managing director of Experian’s
The new car market did not see any decline in sales as demand
stayed healthy thanks to low prices and strong incentives, Experian
As conditions toughen for used car dealers, sales will
have to come in just below 1.9m in the final quarter of 2007 in
order for the segment to catch up with the 2006 total of 7.8m
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Midlanders love 4x4s
Experian also reported that sales of 4×4 cars grew most rapidly
in the West Midlands during Q3 2007 compared with the year-ago
period, leaping by 13 per cent. Fletcher said: “It was interesting
to see that despite environmental concerns and increasing taxes,
the popularity of 4x4s had not diminished, especially in the West
“However, focus has shifted from nearly new used SUVs to
older used SUVs. Sales of SUVs under a year old fell by 14
per cent throughout the country, while the three to six year age
range was the most popular (up 14 per cent).”
Londoners, meanwhile, preferred used diesel cars in Q3 of
last year. Sales of second-hand diesel cars grew by 9 per cent in
the Greater London area while sales of used petrol cars fell by 6
Northern used car dealers were worst hit by the fall in
sales, Experian reported, with a 6 per cent fall – the steepest
fall-off of any UK region. Sales of used cars aged up to three
years fell by 13 per cent in the North.