Second-hand car prices have slumped by up to eight per cent in the last month in a new crisis for the trade but a bonanza for anyone looking to pick up a bargain.
An average drop of 4.5 per cent between April and May is the largest monthly fall in “several years” according to the trade but some car prices have plummeted by even more.
Examples of crashing forecourt prices include a three-year-old Ford Focus down £500 to £5,800, the equivalent of eight per cent off.
The bigger Nissan Qashqai, of a similar age, can now be picked up for £9,650 said the price guide CAP, which is £700 or 6.8 per cent down from its price a month ago.
Both are victims of a glut of stock coming on to the market. Motorists have been selling cars after fuel price rises have made running a car too expensive, particularly if it is a second car.
Those models which are more expensive to run are now becoming harder to shift off the forecourt or through an auction or via the many instant-response websites now cropping up.
While a three-year-old Ford Focus has fallen £500 to just £5,800, a more economical Ford Fiesta of the same age is now worth more – £5,900 – after falling by just £250 in a month.
A diesel BMW 318 model, also three years old, has fallen by £625 to £9,925, which is a fall of under six per cent compared to bigger price drops for thirstier rivals.
The price fall is great news for those buying a second-hand car but bad news for those selling in what experts describe as “an overheated market”.
Tim Bearder, of CAP’s Black Book guide, said: “There’s a build-up of vehicles at auction houses not moving and many dealer groups and supermarkets are overstocked.”
Selling privately is still the recommended method to get the best possible price but involves the most time and effort.
Selling through a dealer or part exchanging a car often means a lower price but is more instant while going via an online site means getting an offer quickly but usually for even less.
The bright spot for those selling their cars in part exchange is that there are also major deals to be had on buying new cars.
According to one publisher, dealers are offering thousands of pounds worth of extras or discounts in a bid to shift new cars off the forecourts.
Auto Express magazine found a Skoda dealer cutting 25 per cent off the asking price of a new model and that dealers are squeezing in other bonuses to tempt buyers. Examples include zero per cent finance on a new Ford Focus or £2,000 of extras on an Alfa Romeo, including air conditioning, Bluetooth and alloy wheels.