Experian AutoCheck Used Car Report: Brits prefer BMWs to bangers

Experian AutoCheck Used Car Report: Brits prefer BMWs to bangers 

‘Experian AutoCheck Used Car Report 2012’ - inaugural study into the private used car marketplace revealing purchasing trends amongst young and old, men and women

London , 26th July 2012 - Forget images of battered bangers sold for a few hundred pounds with a tank of petrol thrown in – the average price of a privately-sold used car is now over £6,000, with high-end cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 among the top models bought and sold, new research from Experian AutoCheck reveals.

One in five buyers (20%) now spends more than £10,000 on a privately-sold car, rising to 29% of buyers aged 55 and older. Yet bargains are still to be had, as 13% of buyers spend less than £1,000.

Experian AutoCheck is the vehicle data checking service from global information services company Experian and these figures form part of the Experian AutoCheck Used Car Report, an inaugural study into the private used car market.

Based on a survey of 1,800 used car owners who have bought a used car from a private seller in the last 18 months, this report is the first of what will be an annual investigation into the private used car marketplace. Due to the nature of these transactions, this area of the automotive industry is difficult to monitor and the aim of this report from Experian AutoCheck, was to develop some real insight into this area especially into the customer experience when buying privately.

Among the key findings in the Experian AutoCheck Used Car Report are:

  • 80% of those surveyed have never owned a new car.
  • 70% of us believe that our next car will be a used car.  
  • By the time we reach the age of 55, we will have owned on average 10 used cars.
  • Nearly three in 10 households (28%) have two or more used cars. 
  • Price is single most significant motivating factor when choosing to buy a used car privately, cited by 100% of respondents, with make and model along with mileage coming in a distant second and third at 44% and 40% respectively. 
  • 8% of used car buyers found that the car they’d bought had faulty or damaged parts that had not been disclosed by the seller, and more than half of buyers (59%) had to replace or repair some parts within the first 12 months.  
  • 22% of people failed to take the basic precaution of collecting their used car from the seller’s address which is the first step in confirming the identity of the owner and that all details match the vehicle documents.
  • More than a quarter of women did not examine any parts in the used car they most recently purchased compared to the 17% of male respondents who failed to check that any parts were faulty or in need of repair before driving away in their new purchase.  
  • Men (38%) are more likely to buy from a friend, colleague or employee, with women proven to be more cautious (24%) and preferring not to purchase form personal contacts.   

The report also identified the most commonly bought cars from private sellers, with the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 rubbing bumpers with more modest cars like the Ford Fiesta.   

Top 10 used cars bought privately are :

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Ford Focus
  3. Vauxhall Corsa
  4. BMW 3 series
  5. Audi A4
  6. Vauxhall Astra
  7. Renault Clio
  8. Audi A3
  9. Renault Megane
  10. Ford Ka

Peter Turner, Managing Director of Experian Consumer Services, UK&I said: “Private used car sales have always played a significant role in the automotive sector, with current estimates from the Office of Fair Trading and British Car Auctions that private sales account for up to 40% of all used car sales. Combined with the insight gained from this report, we can assume the value of this element of the sector to be in excess of £16.7billion.1

“Due to the nature of this part of the used car market, it can be something of an unknown entity for consumers and therefore difficult to regulate. For anyone considering purchasing a used car privately, the motto caveat emptor – let the buyer beware –holds true. In order to fully reap the many benefits of purchasing privately, not least of which is the cost saving, people need to ensure they check the car thoroughly – not just its bodywork, but its history.

“Together with Experian’s extensive data resources and external information, including data from the Police National Computer and finance and insurance companies nationwide, Experian AutoCheck’ 26 comprehensive checks into a vehicle’s history, help consumers buy a next used car with confidence. Through our survey, we found that buyers who didn’t use a vehicle checking service like Experian AutoCheck, were five times more likely to discover the car they had bought was stolen, four times as likely to find it had outstanding finance or was a ‘cut and shut’ – and twice as likely to find that the mileage had been altered.

Experian AutoCheck Used Car Report 2012 – further findings:

Repairs and maintenance

  • More than half of buyers (59%) had to replace or repair some parts within 12 months
  • More than a quarter of women do not examine any parts of the used car they currently own prior to purchase, compared with 17% of men
  • The top things checked when buying a privately-sold used car are: Bodywork (60%), tyres (56%) and the interior (47%)
  • Just 38% of buyers check the brakes and 34% the exhaust

What we pay

  • The average spent on privately-bought used cars is £6,203
  • 13% of respondents spend less than £1,000
  • 28% of 18-24-year-olds spend less than £2,000

Our priorities

  • Price is the main motivating factor when choosing a used car, cited by 100% of respondents, with make and model (44%) and mileage at (40%) coming a distant second and third
  • For women, fuel consumption doesn’t even make it into the top 5 priorities
  • Only 1% admit to having bought a used car partly because the seller was persuasive

What really worries us

  • Buyers’ top concerns about privately bought used cars are: 1. The car may be a write-off; 2. It may be clocked; 3. It may have outstanding finance 
  • 24% of 18-24-year-olds found something seriously wrong when they checked their car, compared to just 6% of buyers aged 55 or older
  • 22% of people failed to take the basic precaution of collect their used car from the seller’s address  

To request a printed of PDF copy of the Experian AutoCheck Used Car Report, please contact Joanne Leahy, PR Manager, Experian, Joanne.leahy@uk.experian.com / (020) 3042 4089 


For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com

For more information please contact:

Bell Pottinger Consumer PR: