Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…


Used car values up again

 Strong competition saw used car prices rise by an average 1.7% in March, according to figures from auction company BCA. The average sale value of £9,668 was the second highest on record, £170 up on February and over £800 more than the same month a year ago.

The average age and mileage of vehicles offered are both continuing to drop, from 56.33 months and 49,441 miles in March 2017 to 54.33 months and 47,474 miles in March 2018.

“Retail used car activity is reportedly very strong, as buyers look for good value used cars and that is being helped by the increased availability of finance in the used sector,” said Stuart Pearson, BCA’s managing director of UK Remarketing.

Less desirable diesel?

 More than two thirds of drivers (67%) are less likely to purchase a diesel car following the VW emissions scandal, according to a new report from Close Brothers Motor Finance.

Five years ago, diesel-powered motors accounted for 52% of new sales, but that plummeted to 38% last year.

Along with the VW scandal, the Government’s plan to ban the sale of new non-hybrid or electric vehicles by 2040 is considered a major factor.

“Until this deadline draws closer there will still be demand for diesel cars, particularly from high mileage customers who value the fuel economy,” said Close Brothers’ director of sales, Sean Kemple.

Driving test statistics

Private number plate specialist Absolute Reg has analysed Government statistics for 2016-17 to reveal some interesting facts about the UK driving test.

376,785 people took the practical car test for the first time over this period, while 33,584 were taking it for at least the sixth time.

50.6% of men passed first time, compared to 43.9% of women. 47.8% of 16-25 year olds passed first time, compared to 41.4% of 61+ year olds and just 36.5% of 26-56 year olds.

The Isle of Mull in Scotland boasted the highest pass rate (91.7%), while those taking the test in Belvedere in SE London struggled most, with just 28% passing.

Check out the infographic <here> https://absolutereg.co.uk/news/uk-driving-test-centre-statistics-uncovered

Volvo safety credentials

Thatcham Research has published one of the most eye-catching statistics of the year so far: that no one has died in a Volvo XC90 in the UK since it launched in 2002.

The key factors in this astonishing performance include the car’s comparatively large mass, which is means it’s physically tougher in a collision, and stacks of safety features.

The second-generation model, manufactured since 2014, comes with both autonomous emergency braking and lane assist as standard.

“Most of the delivery of the safety of that vehicle, the fact that no one’s been killed in it, is because of good structure,” said Matthew Avery, research director at Thatcham.

10-year car trends 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has published new data on 10-year trends in the UK car market:

  • The number of cars registered to women has surged since 2007 to 11.8m, around a third of the car parc.
  • 40% of all new cars registered in 2017 had an automatic gearbox, double the proportion in 2007.
  • There are now 1,500 model ranges and 65,000 different model specifications in the parc, compared with 1,200 and 56,000 in 2017.

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

car crash

Money for first Ka

New figures from automotive research company CarGurus show that UK first-time car buyers have an average budget of £4,627.

62% opted for a second-hand vehicle, with the Ford Ka the most popular choice.

While a quarter of young people have their first car bought for them, 56% said they funded the purchase without parental help.

Car sales figures

UK new car registrations fell 15.7% in March, compared to the same month last year, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

However, it should be noted that March 2017 was the biggest month ever for new car registrations, as buyers seized the chance to buy before new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates came into force.

Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commented: “Despite the decline in new car sales, our members are seeing extremely strong sales of used 3 to 5 year-old vehicles.”

 Crash data

A study of 25,000 traffic incidents by law firm Your Legal Friend has revealed some intriguing data about UK road accidents.

It found that: drivers in their early 30s were most likely to cause a crash; Halifax was the most accident-prone location; the Ford Fiesta was the car most likely to be in a crash; and people named David or Sarah were most likely to be involved.

Online or forecourt?

 A survey of over 1,000 consumers by garage network Servicing Stop has revealed that 64% are likely to search for their next new or used car online.

Only one in three respondents considered dealer showrooms to be a more trusted source.

40% said they’d look on automotive-specific sites, such as Autotrader, 16% head to Gumtree and Ebay, and 8% to Facebook and Twitter.

Oly Richmond, chief executive of Servicing Stop, said: “It’s great to see drivers presented with more diversity in terms of their buying options.”

Park on the pavement

Parking on the pavement could land drivers across the UK with a £70 fine, depending on the results of a new Department for Transport (DfT) review.

In London, the practice has been prohibited since 1974, with Rule 244 of the Highway Code stating that drivers “must not” park on pavements there. Penalty charge notices of £130 are commonly issued to enforce the ban.

Currently, the Code advises that “elsewhere” drivers “should not” do it, effectively allowing it.

Motoring organisations, including the AA and RAC, expressed concern about some roads becoming blocked if the restriction was rolled out nationwide.

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers

ford Logo

Ford Fiesta thefts

Cleveland Police has advised Ford Fiesta owners in North East England to ask their dealers about security updates following a spate of thefts.

According to the Daily Mirror, Britain’s most popular car has been targeted by criminals using electronic security bypass devices which can jam the remote locking.

A spokesman for Ford pointed out that all keyless-entry vehicles are potentially vulnerable to this technique and said customers should always check their car is locked (with mirrors folded in) before walking away.

 Used car prices

Cap HPI has reported a 1.2% rise in used car prices since the start of 2018, compared to a drop of 0.7% last year.

The data showed that city cars, superminis and lower medium-sized cars continue to be popular.

Interestingly, despite the recent negativity, the average price of used diesel vehicles rose slightly during March.

Car of the year

The new Volvo XC60 mid-size SUV has scooped the prestigious World Car of the Year award at the 2018 New York Auto Show.

“We are up against some tough competition, but this award shows that Volvo has the right combination of design, connectivity and safety,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.

The new XC60 range includes petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains. It was Euro NCAP’s best performer of 2017, boasting advanced safety systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Information.

 Renault and Nissan

Spokespeople for Renault-Nissan have dismissed as “speculation” a report in Bloomberg claiming that the manufacturers will officially merge.

The two brands have been close allies for decades, with Renault currently owning 43% of Nissan, and the Japanese carmaker having a 15% stake in its French counterpart.

Renault’s share price jumped 5.4% in recognition of the potential cost savings in research and development, parts supply and manufacturing.

Money for hydrogen

The Department for Transport (DfT) has released £8.8m to improve and expand the UK’s hydrogen refuelling network.

New refuelling stations are currently planned for Birmingham, Derby, Southwark and Isleworth. The project also includes procuring hydrogen fuel cell cars for the Metropolitan Police.

“Decarbonising our roads is an essential part of meeting our climate targets,” said Roads Minister Jesse Norman. “

Mind the GAP

Dealerships are selling Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance for far more than some specialist providers, according to a study by one such company, InsuretheGap.com.

When a car is written off or stolen, the insurer will usually only pay what the car is worth at the time. GAP insurance covers the difference between the market value and either the price that was originally paid (Return to Invoice GAP), the amount still owed (Finance GAP), or a combination of the two.

Across a range of vehicles, the average dealership quote was £467 and the average InsuretheGap quote was £131.

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

Car MoT

SUV sales surge

Analysis by Jato has shown the European automotive industry is continuing its strong start to 2018, with the highest volume of new sales in February since 2008.

Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) were a key driver, with 24.7% more of these vehicles registered in February compared to the same month last year.

Meanwhile, ratings agency Moody’s says a slowdown in consumer spending could cause UK car sales to drop by 5.5% this year.

 MOT changes

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has written to MOT stations in England, Scotland and Wales advising them of upcoming changes to the test.

The headlines are that, from 20 May, defects will be categorised as either dangerous, major or minor, and there will be stricter limits for emissions from diesel cars.

There remains a fine of up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.

Insurers promise to pass on whiplash savings

Responding to the Government’s newly-unveiled plans to change the way whiplash claims are calculated, the leaders of 26 UK insurance companies have committed to passing any cost benefits on to customers.

The signatories represent 86% of the motor and liability market written by members of the powerful Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Martin Milliner, claims director at LV, described it as a great opportunity to eradicate spurious whiplash claims, predicting it will enable insurers to return £35 to every policyholder.

Local scrappage scheme for Derby?

Car buyers in Derby could soon take advantage of a “targeted local scrappage scheme” if local authority plans are approved.

Councillor Asaf Afzal, of Derby City Council, said: “If the business case is accepted then Government will fully fund the scheme, along with a package of supporting measures for improved sustainable travel. The request for funding is likely to be around £35m.”

Thérèse Coffey MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, expressed concern at lack of detail, but said the next step should be “urgent and open discussions” with the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU).

 Millennials own car maintenance

Research for insurer LV has found that young drivers feel more confident about undertaking basic car maintenance than their parents’ generation, thanks to the use of online ‘how to’ videos.

Half of 17-24 year olds, compared to only 31% of over 45s, said they would find it easy to repair a simple problem.

According to Google, searches for videos relating to car and home maintenance are growing 70% year-on-year.

Room for three kids?

New research by What Car? has shown that only half of cars claiming to accommodate three child seats can actually fit them in.

 One in seven families in the EU has three or more children and kids under 12 years old, or less than 135cm tall, must use car seats, whether secured by seatbelts or Isofix brackets.

Despite being the fastest-growing family car sector in the UK, only one of the eight SUVs tested could fit three child seats across a single row.

What Car? concluded that the Audi Q7, Seat Alhambra and Volkswagen Touran were among the best for larger families.

Recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

 price increase

Used price increases

Diesel vehicles accounted for 53% of online used car searches via Auto Trader in February, with petrol accounting for 43% of searches and alternatively fueled vehicles (AFVs) 4%.

The classifieds specialist also reported a rise in the average price, to £12,768, with the average used diesel costing £14,400 and the average used petrol £10,733.

“The government’s approach of demonising diesel, combined with a lack of sufficient incentives for AFVs, is not only harming the automotive industry, but also hampering their green air ambitions,” said Auto Trader’s consumer product director, Karolina Edwards-Smajda.

Classics of the future

Auction group BCA staged its second Future Classics sale on 15 March, featuring an eclectic mix of sportscars, family saloons, performance cars and prestige models.

The vehicles ranged in value from a few hundred pounds to many thousands, the key criteria being “the potential to acquire classic status in the future”.

Entries included a 1959 Morris Minor 1000, a 1960 Wolseley 6/99, a 1981 Pontiac Firebird V8, a 1996 Ford Escort RS2000 4×4 and an imported Honda Integra Type R.

Financial Conduct Authority investigation continues

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is continuing its investigation into the “risk of harm” posed by motor finance, amid concerns about increasing arrears and default rates.

Finance contracts accounted for 88% of private new car registrations in 2017, up from 59% in 2008, with personal contract purchase (PCP) agreements particularly popular.

The FCA’s data showed that 2.4% of accounts had missed one or two payments, and 0.4% had missed between three and five. By comparison, just 1.6% of mortgage accounts were in arrears.

3 Series and Panamera reviews

The UK’s consumer motoring magazines have been casting their expert eyes over some tempting used options.

Auto Express described the BMW 3 Series Mk6 (2012 onwards) as a compact exec which makes sense as a fun-to-drive family car.

Autocar noted that a used Porsche Panamera has the feel, engineering integrity and ability of a 911 but for rather less outlay, with £30,000 enough for a low-mileage 2010-reg 4.8 S.

Bill to curb whiplash claims

To tackle the rise in accident-related injury claims, up 50% on a decade ago, the justice secretary, David Gauke, has unveiled plans for a Civil Liability Bill, which will set out changes to the way whiplash claims are calculated.

Insurers have long blamed these claims for driving up insurance premiums. In January, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reported that the average premium was now £481, up 9% on the previous year.

The Ministry of Justice has previously suggested capping compensation to cut the average payout from £1,850 to a maximum of £425, with a medical report required as proof of injury.


Sharp rise in pothole damage costs

Repairing pothole damage to vehicles cost £915m last year, according to research from Kwik Fit, an increase of 34% on 2016.

The cost of the repairs themselves (commonly items such as tyres, wheels, suspension and bodywork) has risen only slightly, from £108.60 in 2016 to £111, but the number of vehicles suffering damage has soared, to 8.2 million.

“The poor condition of the road network is hitting motorists’ wallets ever harder,” said Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit.

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

Exhaust pipe

Demand for used diesels?

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show new diesel car sales continue to stutter, taking just 35% of the market in February 2018, compared to 44.5% in the same month last year. As a result, petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) both significantly increased their share, by 14.4% and 7.2% respectively.

Other notable stats include a 6.4% rise in van and pick-up sales in February, and a 1.2% rise in motorcycle sales. Stephen Latham, Head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA), has blamed an “epidemic of crime” involving scooters for the dip in sales, down 2.1% from an already low base.

Meanwhile, dealership chain Lookers has reported strong momentum in used cars, and auction company Manheim has recorded a further increase in average prices, to £7,158. In contrast to the new market, it also reported a healthy appetite for used diesels.

Taken for a ride

A chauffeur from Lancashire, Ronnie Clayton, has told how an industry associate tipped him off that the Mercedes E220 estate he’d just purchased had been clocked. Unfortunately, he didn’t carry out a provenance check before buying. It later turned out the car’s odometer had indeed been wound back, from 60,000 miles to 8,500 miles.

VRA to discuss ASA ex-fleet ruling

The Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) will discuss the recent Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling on ex-fleet cars at its next meeting, on 22 March, with a view to establishing best practice guidelines. The ASA ruling dates back to November, when two Alfa Romeo Giuliettas were sold online without it being highlighted that they were ex-fleet. “For our members and large parts of the motor industry, this is very much the subject of the moment,” said VRA chair, Glenn Sturley.

Diesels to face stricter MOT test?

Reports are circulating that the MOT emissions test is about to be tightened for diesels with failing or removed diesel particulate filters (DPFs). A draft MOT inspection manual apparently states that there should be “no visible smoke” from the exhaust. If there is, it will mean an automatic fail. The new rule could come into force as early as May 2018.

Rising costs push up insurance prices

Figures published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that the average motor insurance claim in 2017 was £2,936, the highest on record. The total amount paid across all motor claims remained virtually unchanged from 2016, at £8.1bn. “Cost pressures saw the average price paid for motor insurance jump by 9%,” said Rob Cummings, Head of Motor and Liability at the ABI.

February 2018 – News round-up – The best of our social posts

February 2018 Social Media News

Work of art or waste of money?

Pub landlord spends £100,000 modifying his £30k Ford Focus – now he says it’s “like a work of art”.

Drivers warned of new DVLA text message scam

The DVLA is warning drivers about a fake text message scam in which fraudsters offer motorists bogus refunds on their car tax.
Honest John

Genuine mistake or attempt to over-charge?

Air-CON! Kwik Fit mechanics ‘try to charge student £600 to fix air conditioning her Citroën C1 does not even have’.

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September 2017 – News round-up – The best of our social posts

Average speed camera

How do average speed cameras work?

With modern cars becoming increasingly powerful, it’s easy to achieve speeds where you need to pay particular attention to the prevailing limit.

Diesel car value PLUMMETS by thousands as toxin tax and scrappage scheme unveiled

Thousands have been slashed from the value of diesel vehicles thanks to a string of new scrappage schemes and the recent introduction of toxin taxes.

Digital driving licence trials begin this month in the UK and here’s what it means for you

Digital versions of the UK driving licence are being tested this month with a possible rollout taking place next year.

The top 5 write-off hotspots as new categories come into effect on the 1st of October


Starting from the 1st of  October, there will be new insurance write-off categories. From our mid-year data, we have listed, the UK’s top five write-off hotspots.

The old  A, B, C and D write-off categories will be replaced with new codes: A (scrap), B (break), S (structurally damaged repairable) and N (non-structurally damaged repairable).

Below we have explained, each category in more detail:

N – (NON



Table 1: Places with highest % write-off warnings


1 Morden, South London 35.35%
2 Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire 31.37%
3 Doncaster, South Yorkshire 27.05%
4 Barking, East London 25.00%
5 Northolt, West London 24.19%


Mark Bailey, Head of CDL Vehicle Information Systems, which owns My Car Check, said: “Some parts of the country are much worse than others when it comes to write-offs, with London particularly renowned for it. On average, over 18% of vehicles we check are listed as having been involved in a crash, around one in every five. For Morden, in the first half of this year, the risk of buying a write-off was more like one in three.

“Used car buyers should note that, from October, the new S and N categories will reflect the severity of accident damage, whereas the old C and D categories focused on the cost of repair. This is vital information, particularly regarding category S, because the consequences of being involved in a further smash in a car that hasn’t been properly structurally repaired could be horrific. As before, category A and B write-offs should never return to the road.

“Leaving the safety aspect aside, there’s the impact on desirability and value. A category N write-off which has had cosmetic damage repaired should still cost substantially less than a similar vehicle with clear history. In a survey a couple of years ago, 79% of mycarcheck customers said they wouldn’t buy a write-off. That’s why it’s so important to check before you buy.”

All of our information comes direct from the police, DVLA, insurers and finance houses, we hold  hold comprehensive data on every vehicle on UK roads – things that buyers should be aware of before making an offer.