The market has been swept empty: used cars are more expensive than ever

As of: 12/29/2021 3:38 p.m.

Because of long waiting times and high prices for new cars, many citizens turned to used cars. But these are now also in short supply – and cost as much as.

Whether on deserted streets or on the Internet: The selection of used vehicles is usually huge. Most cars in Germany are bought second-hand. But now even this market has been swept empty. “At the moment we have fewer used cars than customers,” says Thomas Peckruhn, Vice President of the Central Association of the German Motor Vehicle Industry (ZDK). “Used goods are in short supply.”

In some cases, used cars cost more than the corresponding new car

For the few available used ones, customers have to put more money on the table. According to Peckruhn, prices have risen by five to ten percent. In some cases there are even young used vehicles that cost more than the corresponding new vehicles, which are only available with longer delivery times.

Martin Weiss from the market observer DAT (Deutsche Automobil Treuhand) shakes his head. “The market is going crazy,” he says. Used cars are currently more expensive than ever. They often cost “five to 15 percent more,” he knows. In individual cases it could be significantly more. Diesel vehicles in particular are sold at a significantly higher price than in the first few years after the diesel scandal.

Fewer new cars, fewer offers

The corona crisis and the ongoing shortage of chips are to blame for the price explosion in the used car market. Because fewer new cars were registered due to the pandemic in 2020, these are now missing. In addition, companies and car rental companies invest less in new company and rental cars, which are then sold on as used vehicles after a short period of time. The number of daily admissions has also been reduced. “There are just a lot fewer cars on the market,” says ZDK Vice Peckruhn.

Because car buyers have to wait up to a year for a new vehicle due to the lack of chips, they are increasingly turning to used cars. This makes the supply even tighter.

No improvement in sight before 2023

Little is likely to change in this situation in the coming year. “We will also have the high used car prices in 2022,” predicts Peckruhn from the ZDK. And market observer Weiss also expects the market to normalize gradually in 2023 at the earliest.

Used car prices had already risen sharply last year. According to DAT calculations, Germans spent an average of 14,730 euros on a used car – 18 percent more than in 2019. In comparison: in 2001 a used car cost an average of only 8310 euros, the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” found out.

Only used e-cars and plug-in hybrids are still cheap

However, not all areas of the used car market have become more expensive. “We don’t see these increases in electric cars,” says expert Weiss. “Here the used car prices are still under pressure”. On the one hand, this is due to the high level of funding for new cars, and on the other hand, because the technology has developed further and customers tend to have the feeling that they are buying an outdated product. Plug-in hybrids have not risen as much either.

The most expensive are used cars at local dealerships and on internet platforms such as Auto1 or Consumers can buy a used vehicle more cheaply at auctions – or through a private purchase. Here, however, you should have the appropriate automotive expertise, otherwise you may be turned on a used car with defects.

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