Senior data journalist Neil King considers the analytics of Autovista Group’s latest interactive monthly market dashboard (MMD).
Average residual values (RVs), in trade-price terms, fell in France, Germany and Italy in May, compared to April. The figures only rose by a modest 1% in Spain, while average prices were 4.1% higher in the UK than last month. RVs still remain above the levels of a year ago in all markets, as consumers continue to seek out safe alternatives to public transport, and new-car markets are adversely affected by struggling economies and the shortage of semiconductors. The year-on-year increases range from just 0.2% in Spain to 14% in the UK.
The average value retention, represented in RV-percentage (RV%) terms, of cars aged 36 months and with 60,000km, improved month on month in all markets except Italy in May. However, the RV% growth was minimal, with even the UK only increasing by 0.6%, to 47%. Compared to last year, the RV% remains higher in all markets, ranging from 1.1% growth in Germany to 3.9% in Italy.
Slower rehoming in France and Italy
In addition to the RV fall in France and Italy, three-year-old cars have been slower to sell in May than April. The greatest rise in the number of stock days was in France, where used cars are taking 54.1 days on average to find a new home, 3.2% longer than last month. However, stock days fell month on month in the UK and Spain, by 3.5% and 3.8% respectively. Despite the month-on-month decline in trade prices in Germany, used cars are taking on average 53.1 days to sell, 6.3% quicker than in April.
Nevertheless, three-year-old cars are moving on far more quickly than a year ago in all the major European markets, which were only starting to emerge from their lockdowns in May 2020. The weakest improvement is in France, where the average number of days for 36-month-old cars to sell is 9.6% lower than during the same period last year. At the other end of the spectrum, three-year-old cars are selling after an average of 40.2 days in the UK, 47.3% quicker than a year ago, buoyed by the reopening of dealers from 12 April.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA in the UK was the fastest-selling car in the major European markets in May 2021, taking on average just 20.8 days to find a new home. In second place was the Audi Q3 in Italy, which is selling after an average of just 21.2 days. With COVID-19 restrictions easing since 12 April, the third fastest-selling car was in the UK too; the Range Rover Evoque is moving on in under 22 days.
Improved outlook in France
The MMD also features the latest Autovista Group RV outlook. A downward trend is still forecast in most markets in 2021, but the outlook has been revised upwards in France. RVs are now forecast to increase by 0.7% in 2021, compared to the modest decline of 0.4% that was previously anticipated.
‘The government incentive plan since 1 June, coupled with a lack of new-car production and low used-car supply, has impacted RVs positively. Diesel RVs are increasing as used-car demand remains important, accounting for 60% of total used-car sales, while the diesel share of new-car sales is only 30%. Tax changes in 2021 and 2022 – a general malus [tax penalty] increase and a malus on weight – will penalise petrol cars even more. As a result, we expect a decline in petrol sales, which would, in the end, be positive for petrol RVs too,’ explained Yoann Taitz, Autovista Group head of valuations and insights, France and Benelux.
In Spain, the resilient performance of the used-car market will not be enough to compensate for the higher economic pressure the country is facing, especially as the crucial tourism sector struggles to reboot. Nevertheless, RVs are only forecast to end 2021 down 1.1% on December 2020.
The situation is similar in Italy, but is compounded by less resilient demand for used cars, with RVs forecast to retreat 2.3% year on year in 2021. Marco Pasquetti, Autovista Group forecast and data specialist, Italy, points out that ‘even if the impact on residual values is milder in 2021 than in previous outlooks, the economic recovery will take longer than expected.’
RVs are still forecast to decline in Germany in 2021, albeit by only 0.7%, and improve slightly in the UK – aided by healthy used-car demand and even more pronounced constraints on new-car supply than in other markets.
Click here or on the screenshot above to view the monthly market dashboard for May 2021.