Europe’s used car sales increase in May against a backdrop of falling stock levels and higher prices

  • Renault Zoe was best-selling used Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) at less than two years of age
  • Diesel remains the fastest-selling used car type
  • Portugal and Poland reported stock fall of 10.3% and 9.4%

 INDICATA Market Watch has revealed the fastest and best-selling used cars in Europe during May as it adds a new Top Seller category to its used car insights report.

The best-selling used Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) at less than two years of age was the Renault Zoe, followed by the Nissan LEAF, while the fastest-selling BEV was the Tesla 3. Meanwhile the fastest-selling used petrol/diesel car at the same age was the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa.

Diesel remained the fastest selling used car fuel type with a stock turn of 7.3x or 50 days in stock, with petrol close behind (7.2x) which shows the continued strength of demand in the market for the fuel despite new car sales falling across most European countries.

Year-to-date to the end of May used car sales were up by 24.5% over 2020 and 8.5% above 2019 reinforcing how buoyant the market is.

However, stock levels were 2.0% lower going into June 2021 compared to the previous year and 4.6% lower than the previous month. Only Spanish dealers saw stock levels rise from May to June by 2.4%, while markets such as Portugal and Poland reported falls of 10.3% and 9.4% respectively.

There remains a particular shortage of cars around one-year-old due to the much lower than usual used cars coming from the daily rental and dealer demonstrator programmes because of the reduced registrations during 2020. Despite a rise in tactical registrations by manufacturers - up 21% versus April - shortages in this sector look set to remain for the rest of 2021.

The shortage in used car supply could be further compounded by the global semiconductor shortage. Many car makers are being hit hard by this issue with new car production being dramatically reduced. This could mean fleets having to hang on to their current cars for longer.

The UK saw another month of super rates of growth in May (+224.2% YoY) as its late lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic meant used car sales were down dramatically in March, April, and May 2020. This strong demand against a background of reducing supply has pushed up prices as INDICATA’s used car pricing index hit 107.5 points during May.Andy Shields INDICATA Business Unit Director

“The used car market is pretty much back to where it was two years ago. However, with the added challenge of restricted new car supply some countries are going to remain short of stock for some time. Our insights show prices have been steadily climbing, particularly in the UK and this will continue if demand continues to exceed supply. The scene is set for an exciting second half of the year,” said Andy Shields, INDICATA’s global business unit director.