24 jan 22

Europe’s used-car shortage to persist throughout 2022 

Across the 13 European markets monitored by INDICATA, used-car stock levels are now 17% lower than at the start of January 2020. In its latest Market Watch report, the remarketing intelligence specialist predicts prices will remain at record levels throughout 2022. 

“The (used-car) market continues to operate at its new normal, where demand and prices are high and stock levels are low”, says Andy Shields, INDICATA Europe’s business unit director. 

Omicron surge

Some elements prolonging that situation:

  • The semiconductor shortage shows no sign of improving in the next few months, reducing the prospect of sufficient inflow of new cars.
  • In the absence of new cars, many fleets are forced to extend contracts, reducing the outflow of vehicles onto the second-hand market. 
  • Rental companies are even buying used cars rather than selling current vehicle stock.

Used-car dealers’ problems in finding stock have been exacerbated by the Omicron surge, which has led to a decline in used-car sales in December by 24.9% in INDICATA’s 13 markets versus November, and by 4.3% compared to December in the previous year. The sales slowdown in December has seen Market Days’ Supply increase by around 40%.

Outperforming 2020

Nevertheless, 2021 overall still outperformed well, with total online B2C used-car sales 9% up over 2020, and even up 7.4% over pre-Covid 2019. With BEVs becoming the second-most popular new powertrain in a number of markets, the ongoing crisis may present an opportunity to mover used-car buyers into EVs as well, INDICATA suggests. 

In the most recent edition of its Market Watch, the company provides a detailed overview of the remarketing situation in Europe and in its 13 markets individually. 

Top-selling BEVs

A few highlights:

  • Year-on-year stock shortage in Europe’s largest markets ranges from a low of 6% in France to a high of 26.2% in Germany. 
  • In 2021, overall European online B2C used car sales were 9.0% higher than in 2020 and 7.4% above 2019 levels.
  • Year-on-year second-hand car price rises reached double-digit level in the UK (32.6%), Poland (20.9%), Spain (19.9%) and Germany (15.2%).
  • Despite low stocks, high prices and a market slowdown in December, six countries managed year-on-year sales growth, with Germany and six others experiencing a decline.
  • Used BEVs are consistently selling as fast as other powertrains – and are the fastest-selling motorisation in Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland.
  • The top-selling BEVs are the Renault Zoe (pictured), the Audi e-Tron and the BMW i3.
  • The three top-selling hybrids are all HEVs by Toyota: the C-HR, the Yaris and the Corolla. 
  • The VW Golf remains Europe’s overall top-selling used car (up to four years old), followed by the Renault Clio and the VW Polo. 

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Frank Jacobs