The opportunity to give a car a second lease of life

DECEMBER 2012

19-04-01Price is undoubtedly the major attraction in the second-hand market, as the same money that would be spent on a car that has just left the factory can be used buy a high-end car with better performance. With the crisis, pre-owned models are one of the best opportunities to make a saving.

Today, instead of emotional and aesthetic reasons, age and excessive mileage, the emergence of new needs and breakdowns are the main reasons given for changing one’s car. And when this happens, the user is guided primarily by the price, which explains the rise of the second-hand market, which is now the first choice for 60% of potential buyers, according to a study by Coches.net.

19-04-02In Spain, 2.3 used cars are sold for every new car sold by a dealer, a proportion that was 1.7 only three years ago. As has been the case traditionally, over half of the operations in this market take place between individuals and involve “budget range” vehicles over ten years old which are third- or even fourth-hand, which is why Spain’s stock of cars is one of the oldest in Europe.

However, preferences are changing and consumer confidence in the professional second-hand market is changing with them. Used car sales in the brands’ sales networks and other car dealers have risen by 11% this year, as in addition to the price, the guarantee, the quality and fittings for vehicles (which are mostly less than five years old), users value the financing and after-sales services offered by the sector.

In this area, demand for pre-owned vehicles is increasing. These vehicles include “zero mileage,” business management vehicles, those from renting registered in the last two years, where savings can exceed 30%.

Midrange vehicles are the most sought after

19-04-03

New buyers “are looking for a car that is affordable and meets their real needs, which is why most sales are of midrange utility vehicles,” says Jaume Roura, president of the Catalan Federation of Motor Vehicle Dealers (Fecavem). However, Spaniards’ preference for German brands persists, and these are often among the ten most sought after vehicles when buying a used car.

And although it might seem otherwise, luxury is also a factor in the second-hand market, as the premium segment and imported sports cars have their enthusiasts, despite the recession. Fecavem maintains that sales in this range have increased by 1% this year.

19-04-04This trend was reflected at the recent Fira de Barcelona Salón del Vehículo de Ocasión Used Vehicle Show, where 58% of the 1,890 vehicles on display were sold. Buyers were looking for small and mid-size family cars priced at between 8,000 and 15,000 euros (Seat, Hyundai, Renault, Opel, Nissan and Citroën) and compact and saloon cars by German brands (BMW , Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volkswagen), priced at an average of around 25,000 euros. Several luxury vehicles priced at over 50,000 euros were also sold.

Meanwhile, the PIVE Plan boosted sales at the show and in the sector as a whole. Vehicles less than one year old are also eligible for grants of up to 2,000 euros from the Government to encourage new registrations. It is estimated that up to 9% of the PIVE operations are taking place to date involve pre-owned vehicles.

Tips when buying a used vehicle

1. Use an official dealer or sales company. They provide a guarantee (of at least 12 months); transparency (by using official contract formats without unfair clauses); safety (the vehicles are checked and refitted and all the paperwork is taken care of); and service (advice, aftersales, financing).

2. mine the needs that have to be met by the vehicle (trunk space, number of occupants, performance, use to be made of it) and the budget you have.

3. Calculate the annual mileage to choose the type of fuel that is best for you.

4. Consider trading in your vehicle.

Source: Gremi del Motor

MARIA DOLORS HERRANZ