Used car buyers turn to niche vehicles

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U SED car buyers are turning more to niche rather than mainstream vehicles with the fastest sellers last year being SUVs, MPVs and coupes.

Number-crunchers at Glass’s have worked out that the cars spending the least amount of time on the forecourts of second hand dealers were those which the trade says allows drivers to express their individuality.

Of the top five fastest movers, three – the Land Rover Discovery, Jeep Patriot and Range Rover Evoque – were SUVs, one, the rare Renault Wind Roadster, is a coupe convertible, and just one conventional car, the Hyundai i30 family hatchback, made it into this level.

On average all five of these sold within less than 45 days of going on sale.

Glass’s say that thanks to dramatic improvements in the fuel consumption and running costs of the latest SUVs they are seen as an affordable, year-round car.

A spokesman said: “It is interesting to note that every vehicle in this list, except the Hyundai i30, is what one might describe as a niche market car.

“This trend clearly reinforces the concept that today’s retail buyer is more interested in the type of car that they drive than they have been for some years.

“To enjoy and be seen in something that is different and distinctive is one factor that has driven the manufacturers to explore concept vehicles in such a determined manner in recent years.”

At the other end of the scale, the cars taking root on forecourts include those where the manufacturer has tried to force too many into the market, an electric car and two models from the struggling Chrysler marque.

The slowest selling cars of last year include two Mercedes-Benz, the SL and the R-Class, the Nissan Leaf, both the Chrysler Delta and Ypsilon with the now outdated MG TF roadster coming in tenth.

In contrast to the fast movers, the bottom 10 remained on a dealer’s pitch from between around 80 to 110 days before finding a new owner.

The spokesman said: “This depicts a couple of interesting trends. To pick up on niche markets and over-supply of product you only have to look as far as the Mercedes R Class, which is a very competent car but aimed at a very specific market.

“In this instance it would appear to show that its relative oversupply has resulted in a very slow time to sale.

“Finally, the Nissan Leaf has resided in the slowest 10 selling table all year which is a shame as the car is actually very competent.

“However this shows the need for the retail buyer to be given a greater understanding of the electric vehicle as a viable means of transport.”

The 10 fastest selling used cars of 2013 were: Land Rover Discovery4, Jeep Patriot, Renault Wind Roadster, Range Rover Evoque, Hyundai i30m Kia Sportage, Citroen Nemo Multispace, Honda FR-V, Honda CR-V, Citroen Berlingo.

The 10 slowest were the Nissan Primera, Mitsubishi ASX, Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, Subaru Legacy, Ford Streetka, Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Nissan Leaf, Chrysler Delta, Chrysler Ypsilon, MG TF.