Posted 31 January, 2019 at 17:30
London, 31st January 2019 – The average price of a used diesel car fell by -10.3% between Q1 2017 and Q4 2018. Diesel car values dropped 5% through 2017, on the back of consistent negative news about the fuel, and new data shows that slump continued through 2018 at a near-identical rate.
The analysis from car buying comparison website Motorway.co.uk also shows equivalent used petrol prices increasing +10% between Q1 2017 and Q4 2018, suggesting a fundamental change in mass consumer sentiment away from diesel towards petrol. This is now a clear trend over two years that shows no signs of changing.
Motorway.co.uk analysed two years of valuations for more than 130,000 used cars valued on its website, which aggregates live offers from popular online car buying websites and used car dealers. The study looked at trends over time for cars under five years old across all brands, and the two major fuel types – diesel and petrol.
Diesel prices fell -5% a year in both 2017 and 2018 - a total of -10.3% over the two-year period, representing a consistent downward trend. The average diesel value in Q1 2017 was £14,327, dropping to £13,605 by Q4 2017, and £12,849 a year later – a fall of £1,478 for the average used diesel.
Meanwhile the average petrol price went up +10% from £8,912 in Q1 2017 to £9,807 by Q4 2018, an increase of £895 over the same period of the study.
Motorway.co.uk also analysed diesel and petrol valuation data for individual car makes. The research revealed significant differences in how different brands have changed over the past 12 months and two years.
Looking at the most popular makes valued during 2017 and 2018, most major car brands including Ford, Mercedes and Volkswagen saw diesel price drops, with the biggest falls seen with Land Rover, BMW, Vauxhall & Audi.
The average price of a used BMW diesel car has slumped by -16.1% since the start of 2017, falling almost £3,000 from £17,269 in Q1 2017 to £14,441 in Q4 2018. This compares with average prices of BMW petrol variants which have remained steady (falling just -0.6%) over the same period. While the average price of a diesel Audi has fallen -14.3% since the beginning of 2017, compared to a +8.4% increase in price for the petrol variants.
The average price of a Land Rover - almost all of which are diesel-powered - was down more than £6,000 from £30,493 to £24,399 between Q1 2017 and Q4 2018 (a fall of -20%).
Alex Buttle, director of car buying comparison website Motorway.co.uk comments:
“It’s been a tough couple of years for diesel owners. Having been penalised by the Government and ripped apart by the press, diesel prices slumped in 2017. Although we saw early signs of resilience in the first half of 2018, any recovery has been undone recently by worsening consumer sentiment towards diesel. This followed the announcement of wider, more punitive emission zones in London and more rigorous emissions testing for all cars later in the year.
“Increasingly, people looking to buy a used car are deciding on fuel type before choosing what make and model they want to purchase. More people are opting for petrol and diesels are suffering. Despite newer Euro-6 diesel engines now matching petrol equivalents for efficiency, consumer sentiment has simply moved away from diesel – possibly forever.
“Perhaps the most interesting trend was used diesel Land Rovers dropping in price by a massive -20% over two years. This suggests they are losing their appeal at the expensive end of the used car market, as more affluent buyers are opting for other options from the likes of Audi, BMW, Volvo and Mercedes – where petrol variants are showing comparatively buoyant valuations.
“But it’s not just with bigger, premium SUVs and 4x4s. Smaller, cheaper used diesels are seeing falling prices too. To add to its woes, Vauxhall has also suffered with a -14.9% average drop in used diesel prices. Meanwhile, most petrol variants of smaller cars across the market are increasing in price, unlike their diesel counterparts.
“Across the UK car market, diesel prices are struggling to maintain buoyancy and this long term trend could be irreversible. The outlook for diesel values into 2019 looks very bleak indeed. Is the era of the diesel gas guzzler over?”