A large increase in nearly-new petrol cars has sparked a substantial fall in used prices, according to valuation specialist Cazana.

The company, which tracks the used car market, reported that the average value of a sub-12-month, sub-12,000-mile petrol car fell from 76% to 68% of original cost new between October 2018 and 2019. Prices dropped gradually throughout the year, but plummeted to a low of 62% in September.

The fall has been credited to the UK’s rapid swing to petrol cars, along with a spike in pre-registrations and the recent spate of new car price rises in the run-up to Brexit.  

“This is a direct reflection of too many petrol cars coming into the marketplace,” said Rupert Pontin, Cazana’s director of insight, “the sub-12-month, sub-12,000-mile market has been significantly affected by pre-registered vehicles. Those prices needed to be readjusted because the manufacturers decided that the UK wanted lots of petrol cars, and they didn’t sell as many as they expected to. There are about 20% more cars in that marketplace [than a year ago] and the average new cost of those vehicles has gone up.”

Pontin added that the introduction of WLTP in September 2018 had also contributed to the recent fall in used petrol values. He claimed that the rise in registrations during the derogation period – where manufacturers were permitted to sell a portion of non-WLTP-compliant vehicles built before 1 June 2018 – had seen significant numbers poured into the market.  

“WLTP has had an impact, because these are petrol cars that had to be priced and sold before the derogation period ran out, and they’re disappearing into the used car market as pre-registered cars,” he said.  

Despite the dramatic reduction in new diesel car sales – they’re down 28.3% year-to-date – and speculation that used examples had dropped in value, nearly-new models are worth almost exactly as much as they were a year ago.