Online sales help used car market bounce back across Europe

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The used car market has bounced back across Europe as online sales become the ‘new norm’.

Andy Shields, Indicata business unit director

March 2021 used car sales were up 49.1% on March 2020, according to Indicata’s latest Market Watch report, and up 13.8% on the pre-pandemic March 2019 figure. Volumes are also up 24.5% over February 2021 and 5.4% higher year-to-date.

Austria and Italy, amongst the first European countries to be hit by the pandemic, are now seeing the strongest sales recovery, operating at 138% and 111% year on year, respectively, in March.

In Austria, used car sales saw a significant increase of 29% from February 2021 to March 2021. And in Italy, its March 2021 figures were 20.4% higher when compared with March 2020.

Dealers are also being supported by manufacturers with a large push in tactical registrations; March saw a 41% increase of sub-12-month-old vehicles from February 2021 to March 2021.

All powertrains witnessed double-digit growth in month-on-month used car sales, with hybrids growing by 40% – outperforming battery electric vehicles (BEVs) at 32%, petrol at 28% and diesel at 21%.

But diesel continued to be the fastest-selling type of powertrain, with a stock turn of 7.4 compared to petrol at 6.9 while BEVs were the slowest-moving stock at 4.1.

Andy Shields, Indicata’s business unit director said: “Going into April 2021, stock levels vary greatly by country, with some markets overstocked whilst others are heavily constrained.

“With a consistent pool of three-year-old vehicles, we would expect the lifecycle to show a steady downward movement in average prices month-on-month, but with excess stock in some markets and a shortage in other markets prices are quite volatile.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.