17 Aug 22

Used BEVs now sell faster than any other type of second-hand car

For the second month in a row, used BEVs occupy the top three of fastest-selling vehicles on the European used-car market. With demand high and supplies limited, used-BEV prices are headed up, Indicata’s latest Market Watch report shows. 

Across the 13 major European markets monitored by Indicata, online B2C sales of used cars in June were down 15.7% over the same month last year. 

Overall used-car sales: down

For the entire first half of the year, sales were 10.1% lower than H1 2021. 

  • Compared with July 2021, only Denmark (+6.5%) and France (+7.4%) witnessed an increase in used-car sales last month.
  • The drop remained in the single digits only in the Netherlands (-7.3%) and Turkey (-7.5%), and was more pronounced in the UK (-13.3%), Sweden (-14.4%), Portugal (-17.4%), Italy (-21.6%), Spain (-23.4%) and Belgium (-24.1%). 
  • Used-car sales dropped by more than a quarter in Poland (-26.9%), Germany (-29.7%) and Austria (-31.7%).

It's telling that Denmark and France are the only two countries where the levels of online B2C used-car stocks increased year-on-year, and that the Netherlands, Turkey and the UK – the countries with a the lowest fall in sales figures – also have some of the best stock levels. This proves that the sales dip is driven by a drop in supply, not demand. 

Used-BEV sales: up

The best-selling used-car models across all 13 markets last month, in terms of volume (for cars up to 4 years old), in descending order:

  • Overall, and ICE: VW Golf, Renault Clio, VW Polo.
  • PHEV: Toyota C-HR, Toyota Yaris, Audi A6.
  • BEV: Renault Zoë, Tesla Model 3, BMW i3.

When we isolate the last category, the story is quite different. Used BEV sales were up 27% across all 13 markets, July-on-July. This is in stark contrast with the drop of 15.7% for all powertrains combined. As for the other categories:

  • Used petrol sales were down 16%.
  • Used diesel dales declined by 20%.
  • Used PHEV sales were up 5%. 

BEV stock turn shot up 87%, making it by far the fastest-selling powertrain across the region. But as mentioned, the main problem is not a lack of demand, but a lack of supply. Low sales volumes of BEVs in previous years are limiting their inflow into the used-car market. 

Upward price tendency

However, as in indication of how ‘hot’ BEVs are at the moment, June was the second consecutive month in which the entire top 3 of fastest-selling cars (judged by market days supply) consisted of BEVs. Specifically: Teslas Model Y (pictured) and 3, and Polestar 2. The model Y sold 36.7% faster than the MG 3, the fastest-selling ICE car.

With deliveries of new vehicles still subject to delays – all the way into 2024, in some cases – the used-car market is undergoing pressure from both sides: because so few new vehicles have been sold in the last few years, inflow is expected to remain limited. And because consumers are increasingly turning to second-hand vehicles as an alternative for unavailable first-hand ones, demand remains very strong.

This translates into strong upward price tendency for used cars. The graph below shows the increase in used-car prices over the past half year, which in many of the countries hovers around 10%. The two outliers are Turkey and the UK. 

  • Used-car prices in Turkey have shot up by 112.7 p.p. due to restrictions on importing used cars, in combination with new-car shortages. 
  • As Europe’s only major left-hand drive market (the others are Ireland, Cyprus and Malta), the UK is de facto protected against any major outflow of used cars to other markets. 
COUNTRY Used-car price change in percentage points (p.p.) from December 2021 to June 2022
Turkey 112.7
Austria 11.6
Belgium 10.4
Portugal 9.5
Italy 9.4
Germany 9.4
Denmark 9.3
Poland 9.1
Spain 8.9
France 8.4
The Netherlands 7.2
Sweden     4.2
United Kingdom -2.6

Image: Ogidya, CC BY-SA 4.0

Authored by: Frank Jacobs