In January, used car sales fell for the 7th time in 8 months. A situation which is mainly explained by the crisis that the new market is going through and also by the prices for second-hand vehicles which are soaring.

After reaching a record level in 2021, the second-hand market is, however, going through a major period of turbulence. In January, sales have just fallen by 9.4% compared to the same month last year, with 435,754 registrations, according to data from the specialized site Autoscout24.

This is quite simply the 7th month of decline in the French second-hand market over the last 8 months, with rates approaching -10% each time.

“The results for January are mixed, with a sharp drop compared to January 2021 but which remains to be put into perspective because we were then emerging from the second confinement, with a catch-up in sales not made during the period. We remain however clearly below the level of January 2020, just before the pandemic, with a fall of 14%”, explains Vincent Hancart, general manager of AutoScout24 France

An average price close to 27,000 euros
Behind this situation, the crisis on the new home market (-18.6% in January), still disrupted by shortages of components, which mechanically reduces supply on the second-hand market. In January, the ratio of used car sales to new car sales thus reached a new record level, at 4.23, an unprecedented level. It was 3.6 in 2021.

Faced with exploding delivery times, opportunities, especially recent ones, are snapped up. So much so that the average price is soaring, approaching 27,000 euros in January, after a 13% increase last year. It was still below 23,000 euros in September 2019.

Diesel remains number one
“With +6.2% in 2021, the average price of diesels increases much less than gasoline models, with nearly +20%”, indicates Vincent Hancart.

A situation of course linked to the uncertain future around this engine, which will soon no longer be able to drive in the main cities of France. with the establishment of EPZs.

While in the new, diesel accounted for less than 20% of sales in January, it remains a very popular engine on the second-hand market, with more than 54% market share last month.

“With the current rise in fuel prices, the efficiency of diesel remains better, which is always interesting for a motorist who drives a lot”, emphasizes Vincent Hancart.

Another explanation according to him for this phenomenon: an insufficient offer of petrol models to supply the market in this context of the exit of diesel, to which is added a sharp drop in tactical registrations. These sales of new vehicles that manufacturers sometimes make at knockdown prices to sell off inventory, in a context of changing regulatory standards or to achieve commercial objectives. The purchase of models less than 1 year old thus fell by 33% compared to January 2021.

Electrified models still discreet
While sales of electrified cars (hybrid and 100% electric) accounted for nearly 40% of new car sales in January, this rate is closer to 5% for used cars.

With the supply of electric vehicles which has been developing very strongly lately, Vincent Hancart estimates that this share could reach 10% by the end of the year. National and local aid to change vehicles could indeed make it possible to cross this symbolic milestone.

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