Auto Trader insight report: navigating turbulence with fleet boost, robust used market, and retail price realities

  • Fleet market fuels a 10% surge in the new car sales, tackling the 22% ZEV pressure point.
  • Used market remains resilient with sales soaring, swift turnovers and demand outpacing supply, but recent sales face buyer challenges in the shadow of enticing new car offers.
  • A retail-backed, vehicle-led approach is key for a thriving used retail market despite trade uncertainties.

Manoeuvering market challenges with fleet momentum, strong used market, and realities of retail prices

Auto Trader‘s recent data has unveiled a 10% uptick in the new car market from 2022, driven by a solid 25% rise in fleet sales. However, retail faced a 6% dip. 

In the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) scene, fleet sales took the lead, commanding a substantial 77% of the game in November. Now, the strategy shifts with the introduction of enhanced discounts and finance offers on new BEVs, seeking to spark demand and navigate towards the critical Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) 22% target. 

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The resilience of the used market shone through, marked by a strong uptick in sales, consistent turnover times and demand consistently outstripping supply. However, a challenge has surfaced in recent used car sales, where buyers are now drawing comparisons with the increasing allure of new car offers. These comparative nuances introduce a layer of complexity, demanding a strategic approach to navigate the evolving dynamics between the new and used car sectors.

The used retail market, overall, has demonstrated vitality, but the sway of trade market fluctuations is leaving its mark on retail prices. To counter this, a strategic retail-backed, vehicle-led approach becomes important. Notably, while sales of used cars, less than a year old, show improvement compared to last year, they still lag significantly behind pre-pandemic levels. 

In the ever-evolving automotive landscape, fleet sales, especially in the realm of BEVs, have become a catalyst, contributing to a surge in the new car market. Their dominant share in the BEV sector hints at a transformative shift, and with strategic incentives on new BEVs, fleet sales not only drive the market but also hold the potential to significantly propel us closer to ZEV targets. Auto Trader’s data suggests a pivotal role for fleet shales in shaping a more sustainable and electric future for the automotive industry.

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