Motorists in Britain are experiencing an ‘unprecedented’ rise in the price of used car sales, invoking memories of the late 1980s boom – with vehicles fetching up to £6,000 more than they did only eight months ago.

However, Boycies of the future will not be able to sell an antique banger today. Today’s trading is more focused on upmarket models and many are eco-friendly.

Used car prices have shot up by more than 30 per cent over the last eight months, meaning a car bought for £20,000 in spring is now worth £26,000, with the Mercedes A-Class and Audi A1 among the top ten most popular.

Industry experts claim that semi-conductor supply problems have affected production, with new car sales falling by 31%.

The AA has found that UK’s most sought-after used cars saw their average prices increase by up to 57% over the previous year. Britain’s best-selling used car the Ford Fiesta now costs £9,770, up 31 per cent on its 2019 value.

The group warned Britons about dodgy dealers, and recommended that everyone obtain an independent inspection of their vehicle before they are sold to make sure there are no hidden defects. 

Meanwhile data released by Auto Trader revealed that nearly a fifth of used cars up to one year old are being sold for more than they cost when new, with some models changing hands for up to £7,000 more than if bought new.

After the second easing of the lockdown in 2020, pent-up vehicle demand was released in summer 2020. The third lockdown in spring 2021 saw an acceleration in the following year. Demand is also being driven by reluctance to go back to public transport, and the slowing down of young drivers passing their driving exams after they were delayed due to Covid-19.

Due to the global shortage of semiconductor computer chips, there is a boom in second-hand cars. This means that car buyers may be told to expect to wait for months to receive new models. Therefore, more people are choosing to buy used cars than wait. 

These chips control in-car functions like winding down windows electronically and can’t be used to build vehicles without them. According to experts, the shortage could cause a decline in new car production up to a third by August.

Britain’s last used car boom was in the 1980s. TV replays featuring Arthur Daley and Boycie, salesmen from Only Fools and Horses, recall that time. Between 1987 and 1989, a record of 26 consecutively rising used car sales stood. This feat took 25 years. 

This graphic shows the most popular used cars in the 1980s at the time of TV's Minder according to Admiral insurance (left), while the most popular used cars today and their prices according to The AA are also displayed (right)

This graphic displays the top-selling used cars of 1980 as a result of TV’s Minder (left), and the highest-selling used cars (right) according to Admiral Insurance (right).

Popularity rankings Car Price rise 2019-2021 The average 2019 price Average price in 2021
1 Ford Fiesta 33.1% £7,448 £9,770
2 Ford Focus 41.1% £8,919 £12,764
3 Volkswagen Polo 34.47 % £8,208 £11,037
4. Nissan Qashqai 33.1% £10,935. £14,554
5 Volkswagen Golf 33.8% £13,074 £17,234
6 Audi A1 29.17% £10,396 £13,429
7 Audi A3 4.9% £12,451 £18,190
8 Fiat 500 27.79% £6,444 £8,235
9 Mercedes A Class 27.71% £13,566 £17,325
10 Ford Kuga 37.85% £11,544 £15,913
Arthur Daley, played by George Cole, was a used car salesman operating within the criminal underworld in the 1980s in TV's Minder. A record of 26 consecutive months of rising used car sales was set between 1987 and 1989

George Cole played Arthur Daley as a used-car salesman in the criminal underworld of the 1980s on TV’s Minder. Between 1987-1989, there was a 26-month streak of growing used car sales.

The Auto Trader Retail Price Index revealed record increases to second hand car prices are showing no signs of slowing down with October 2021 posting the biggest monthly rise on record. This was also a 19th consecutive month of rising prices

Auto Trader Retail Price Index showed record-breaking increases in second hand vehicle prices. October 2021 was the highest month ever. Also, this was the 19th consecutive month with rising prices

Boycie, played by the late John Challis, shows Del Boy and Rodney a car in the BBC TV comedy Only Fools and Horses

Boycie, played by the late John Challis, shows Del Boy and Rodney a car in the BBC TV comedy Only Fools and Horses

Data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders on the most popular used cars in the third quarter of 2021

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has released data about the three most popular cars used in the third quarter of 2020. 

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders data

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders data

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has data that shows how used cars are sold by regions (left) and colors (right).

SMMT data revealed the used car market fell by 6.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2021, with 2,034,342 cars changing hands

SMMT data showed that the used car market declined by 6.2 percent in the third quarter 2021 with 2,034,342 vehicles changing hands.

Marshall Motor Holdings chief executive Daksh Gopta said on BBC Radio 4’s Today that despite new car supply shortfalls we are seeing used car prices rise at an unparalleled rate.

‘So if you owned a vehicle that was worth £20,000 in April – what we’ve seen is as a result of the new car supply shortages, used car values have actually appreciated by over 30 per cent in the last eight months.

Boycie and Arthur Delay are two examples of how we can remember that 1980s was a great time to sell used cars

Two TV comic characters were the best to sum up Britain’s 1980s used car boom: Arthur Daley from Minder and Boycie from Only Fools And Horses.

On BBC’s Only Fools and Horses Terrance Aubrey (or ‘Boycie) Boyce, played by John Challis, was a dodgy South London second-hand car dealer. He was well-known for his nasal laugh and shouting “Marleeeene!” To his wife.

John Challis, who played used car salesman Boycie in Only Fools And Horses, stands in front of a Reliant Regal in 2011 with his on-screen wife Sue Holderness who played Marlene

John Challis (who played Boycie, a used-car salesman in Only Fools and Horses) stands before a Reliant Regal with Sue Holderness, his wife who played Marlene.

George Cole played Arthur Daley, who was also a comedian on ITV. Minder featured Arthur as a used car-salesman and cigar-puffing Arthur Daley.

Vauxhall Cavalier Ford Escort, Ford Fiesta, Austin Metro and Ford Escort were among the top five most popular cars that time.

Arthur Daley was played by George Cole in TV's Minder. He is shown alongside Gary Webster, who played his nephew Ray

George Cole played Arthur Daley in TV’s Minder. Gary Webster plays his nephew Ray.

Between 1987 and 1989, a record 26 consecutive months of increasing used car sales was established. It took another 25 years to match that feat between 2012 and 2014. 

Here were the top ten cars of the 1980s according to Admiral insurance: 

  1. Ford Escort
  2. Vauxhall Cavalier
  3. Ford Fiesta
  4. Austin/MG Metro
  5. Ford Sierra
  6. Vauxhall Astra
  7. Ford Cortina
  8. Ford Orion
  9. Austin/MG Maestro
  10. Vauxhall Nova
The most popular car in the 1980s was the Ford Escort vehicle

Ford Escort is the most loved car in 1980s.

‘So that would be worth around £26,000 today. Traditionally, if you were to look at that vehicle in 2019, it would have ordinarily depreciated by 11 per cent, so that’s a delta of over £8,000.’

Gupta’s company, which has 164 franchised dealers, is Britain’s seventh-largest motor dealer group. He was asked questions about the shortage of semiconductors needed to make new cars. He said, “If you take a look at quarter three of the new car markets, you will see that there is a 31% drop in new car sales due to supply problems within the market.”

He also said: ‘The data that was released this morning by the SMMT showed that there were 2,034,000 used car transactions – and it’s worth just defining transaction because that includes both everything from private sales to vehicles that have been written off to vehicles that are sold through independent retailers and franchise retailers.

“So while it is true that the market fell 6.2% quarter-on quarter, it’s important to note that last quarter in 2020’s third quarter was a new record. Last year, we were able to come out of lockdown, and we then saw huge demand.

Speaking about how the situation will impact the Government’s plans to transition to electric vehicles, Mr Gupta explained that the demand was very strong. It’s not a supply issue. If you take a look at what is happening in the new, there is strong demand. So, year-to-date, battery-electric vehicle sales are now at 15%. This is far greater than any one could have ever expected.

“And sure, we’re seeing demand in this market. So if you take a look at the new registrations for cars in quarter three, it was up 56 percent, but in used, it was 43% more, then you can see that the demand is starting to pick up in the used markets.

This comes after data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders today revealed that the used car market dropped by 6.2 percent in the third quarter of 2021 with 2,034,342 vehicles being traded.

The market rebounded strongly after the opening of showrooms was completed and the lockdown restrictions were relaxed.

In every month of the quarter, used car transactions fell, with September, July and August all declining by 4.9%, 5.9 % and 7.9 %, respectively. 

According to the SMMT, overall the quarter was 2 percent lower than 2019’s pre-pandemic levels. This makes it the third weakest since 2015. 

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the company, stated that despite the decline in used cars sales in the third quarter, records in sales in earlier quarters mean the market is still up year-to-date.

“Given these circumstances and the shortage of semiconductors required to make new cars, the market for new cars is being undermined, it was inevitable that used transactions would also suffer.

“This is especially worrying because fleet renewal, both used and new, is crucial if we want to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

Record sales from 2021 helped drive an 16% increase in the market for used vehicles to date to 5,889 6001 units. That’s an 829 780 more transactions.

However, the market overall was only 3.9 percent or 241,160 less than the total 2019 for the first nine month.

MailOnline was informed today by James Fairclough (CEO of AA Cars): ‘After a second quarter record, the used vehicle market could not sustain its momentum through the third quarter in 2021.

“While there is no direct impact on the used car market from the shortage of semiconductors that has hampered the production of new cars. However, it is possible to have a limited supply of second-hand cars.

“Despite the strong buyer demand, finite supply is reducing used car sales numbers – though to a smaller extent than that seen with new car sales.

“With less vehicles being produced in UK car factories than ever before, second-hand buyers have the advantage of availability.”

He stated that AA Cars’ website has seen a surge of interest today in used vehicles’. This spike in buyer interest is steadily driving up used vehicle values.  

Britain's best-selling used car the Ford Fiesta now costs £9,770, up 31 per cent on its 2019 value (file picture)

Britain’s best-selling used car the Ford Fiesta now costs £9,770, up 31 per cent on its 2019 value (file picture)

Vauxhall Corsa

Volkswagen Golf

Vauxhall Corsa (left), as well as the Volkswagen Golf, are the most used vehicles in Britain.

The Ford Focus is the fourth most popular used car in Britain, with 66,072 transactions in the third quarter of this year

With 66,072 sales in the third quarter, the Ford Focus was the fourth-most popular British used car

Faiclough stated that “The average selling price for the top 30 used cars listed on AA Cars increased by 57% over the past 2 years.” 

UK-based independent car dealer with 15 outlets enjoys 58% increase in profits 

Motorpoint Group is one of the many independent British car dealers that have made high profits from the shortage in vehicle supplies.

This Derby-based firm, which operates 15 locations across Britain and has nearly 4,000 pre-owned cars, has seen strong sales in the last few months.

Mark Carpenter, chief executive of Derby-based Motorpoint

Mark Carpenter, chief executive of Derby-based Motorpoint

Motorpoint attributes Motorpoint’s first half gross profit growth to the rising cost of cars and robust demand for used vehicles. This is an increase of around 58% year on year.

In April and May, record sales were made by the group. Trade was slowed in June due to shortages of car supplies. However used car buyers in the second quarter rose at more than double the UK market growth rate.

Total revenues and online retail sales increased more than 50%, while revenue at jumped around 38%.

Mark Carpenter, Chief Executive, said that his company is committed to supplying the entire used vehicle market with its renowned selection, value, services, and quality.

He stated that Motorpoint remains the UK’s largest independent retailer of used vehicles, with record sales, employee engagement and excellent customer service.

Some models are so in demand that their value is increasing with age.

There are many great deals on secondhand cars. However, we recommend that a pre-sale inspection be done on all used vehicles before money is transferred. It will help ensure that no hidden defects are found that could lead to financial loss.

According to the AA, some models are in high demand and even appreciate with age. 

A Mini Hatch five years old currently sells for 15% more than it did in 2019. This means that the Mini Hatch has increased in value even though it is two years younger.

It carried out analysis of the 30 most searched for cars on the AA Cars platform, and compared prices of three, four and five year-old models in August 2019 and August 2021 – finding average prices have risen by as much as 57 per cent.

The Ford Fiesta now costs £9,770, up 31 per cent on its 2019 value of £7,448 – and the next most popular car, the Ford Focus, has gone up from by 43 per cent from £8,919 to £12,764.

In third place as the Volkswagen Polo, up by 34 per cent from £8,208 to £11,037; while in fourth was the Nissan Qashqai, up 33 per cent from £10,935 to £14,554; and in fifth was the Volkswagen Golf, up 32 per cent from £13,074 to £17,234.

Fairclough explained that things don’t tend to increase in value with the exception of some old cars and houses. However, the price of used cars is rising so fast that certain models in demand are gaining value even though they’re still in their driveways.

Auto Trader released separate statistics last month showing that nearly a fifth are sold at a higher price than their original cost.

According to the data, the average cost of secondhand cars rose 24% in the last year due to record-breaking numbers of people exchanging their vehicles.

Auto Trader found used models are being sold for up to £7,000 more than if bought new. According to Auto Trader, around 17% of secondhand cars up to one year old are on the market for less than their brand-new counterparts.

The analysis found that in the week of October 11 to 17, the average price of all used vehicles was £19,018, up 24 per cent compared to the same week last year.

One model, the fully-electric Skoda Enyaq, had an average second-hand asking price of £46,970. 

This compares to the average £39,960 brand-new price, making second-hand models 17.5 per cent more expensive.

For Volkswagen’s pure electric ID.3, the average second-hand asking price was £33,000 compared with £28,990 for brand-new (13.8 per cent more). 

Daksh Gupta, chief executive of Marshall Motor Holdings, says used car values are going up 'at an unprecedented rate'

Marshall Motor Holdings chief executive Daksh Gopta says that used car prices are rising at an ‘unprecedented rate’

The AA revealed that demand for some used car models is so strong that they are even appreciating with age (stock picture)

The AA reported that some car models are so popular that they appreciate with age. (stock photo)  

For a petrol Peugeot 208, the figures were £24,000 and £21,410 respectively (13 per cent more for second-hand).

The third of the new UK vehicles are electric cars 

In some parts of Britain, electric cars account for almost one-third of new vehicles.

An analysis of the latest car registrations revealed that 32% went to pure electric cars in Wimbledon, South West London. Only 30% in Oxford. The sales of pure electric vehicles could overtake those for petrol engines in both instances.

Only six percent of the new Oxford cars were sold as diesel, while 39% were bought with petrol. 24% of all new vehicles registered in Oxford last month were hybrids, which means that more than 50% had zero emission capability.

Wimbledon’s sales consisted of 4 percent diesel and 42 per cent petrol. The Hybrid market accounted for 22%, more than half of the new registrations for vehicles with zero emission capability. 

A majority of the new cars that were sold in Maidstone, London and Bristol, as well as in Newcastle and Peterborough, were pure-electric.

New AutoMotive, an independent transport research company, compiles the data. The figures are positive in achieving the government’s goal of banning new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. However, it will raise concerns about the possibility that areas less fortunate may not be able to make the transition to zero emission cars.

Also, some older cars have had their median asking prices increase by 40 percent when they are added to the mix. This includes the Jaguar XK and Ford Focus.

Richard Walker from Auto Trader said that the levels of growth in used cars prices have surpassed all records once more. There is a lot speculation about how long this boom might last.

“Whilst inflation is a risk for consumer demand in its own right, we do not expect price growth to slow down anytime soon.

Motorway, an online marketplace for used cars, reported that used car prices had increased by 30% in September 2021 over September 2020. 

The report stated that the values were steadily rising month-on-month with the largest jump being June’s 16 percent.

Company added that they have seen fourfold increase in sales year over year and an additional +65% growth in quarterly sales, compared to quarter two.

It also recorded a 300 per cent uplift in third-quarter sales to £306million compared with £78million last year. Motorway sold 20,076 vehicles in the period July to September.

The Auto Trader Retail Price Index showed record-breaking increases in second-hand car prices last week. October saw the largest monthly increase ever recorded.

The value of an average used motor rose by 25.6 percentage points in the 19th consecutive monthly period of increasing prices.

It means buyers have seen used prices rise by almost £3,000 in just five months, shooting up from £13,973 in May to £16,878 last month.

It was September that set the previous monthly record for average vehicle used value increases. This shows how much demand there is currently for pre-owned cars.

Nearly one-fourth (22.2%) of “nearly new” cars, those up to a Year old, are currently advertised at a higher price than their regular on-the-road brand-new pricing.

This represents a substantial jump from the September record of 17%, as well as nearly 6 times that recorded in January (4%)