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The post lockdown shift to older used cars

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August 12th 2020 info

As lockdown winds down, our buying habits have changed. Whether it’s been an increased reliance on online shopping or a newfound appreciation of small business, Britain’s now five-month lockdown has revolutionised consumer habits.

Inevitably, this has had a knock-on effect on car buying. As many of us have seen our cars parked and hardly used for months at a time, it has had a pronounced impact on the UK buyer’s view of what makes the ideal car.

findandfundmycar.com’s research has shown that more people now want to purchase older cars, especially used cars for £250 a month or less.

Below, we look at what our research revealed, and we explain how to buy a car after the lockdown.

What the research says

Our research has discovered two key trends:

  1. The number of people looking for used car finance has increased by 35%
  2. Almost half of used car buyers are looking for cars with lower repayments, costing under £250 per month.

So, this means there is an increased interest in car finance after the lockdown, but the majority of this interest is geared towards older, higher-mileage options.

Looking deeper into our sales data research, we found that for June, sales of cars aged between 6-9 years rose by 12.6% and sales for cars ages between 9-12 years rose by 6.6% year-on-year.

Phil Morgan, Head of findandfund, observes:

“There is an obvious trend towards older, cheaper cars from car buyer search activity on our platform and its circa 130,000 vehicles.”

“In difficult economic situations opting for such cars is a natural ‘bangernomics’ move by people watching their pennies. We have seen in the past that driving an older car in tougher times gains an almost ‘tatty chic’ appeal.” 

Some of the most popular older models for under £250 a month included:

So, what’s the explanation for this change in buying behaviour?

Why the shift to older cars?

Before lockdown, queries like “should I buy an old car?” were common. However, this wasn’t reflected as much in the sales data as it is now.

The shift has likely come from an increased number of people moving from public to private transport. As public transport brings newfound risks, the option of purchasing an inexpensive car as a stop-gap becomes more justifiable.

Even as a long-term investment, older cars now make more economic sense. Conceptions of how many miles a used car should have are now more flexible given the improved reliability of older models.

This improved reliability has made used cars a more justifiable option, especially for those wondering “what car can I afford for £250 a month”. 

Of course, there are environmental concerns around buying an older car to consider, with older models typically being less fuel efficient. However, recycling and running a used car for as long as it is reliable and being strict with maintenance can offset these concerns.

Increasing attraction to dealer finance is a strong motivator, too. Phil points to the tightening of credit in the current economic climate, particularly for unsecured personal loan lending for the increasing popularity of dealer finance.

Research by moneyfacts.co.uk noted that it has not only become more expensive for consumers to take out personal loans but people were also finding that their loan applications were being declined or held up for long periods as well.

In conclusion, Phil states:

“Hire Purchase (HP) and Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), which dominate the used car financing options available from dealers, are linked to the vehicle being financed; typically this makes such options more accessible for car buyers when compared to a personal loan. Add to that the increased self-serve access to finance that we and others offer and buyers can now sort out both their car and finance in one easy, transparent process from their own home.” 

If you’re struggling to get from A to B, then purchasing a used, high-mileage car with findandfund’s flexible plans may be the option for you.

Make the most of bangernomics

If you’re looking for a good motoring deal, now is the time. Figuring out how to buy a car post-lockdown is as easy as using our smart search tool.

Discover competitive, high-quality used cars from a range of dealers today.

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