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Used cars are becoming more expensive: small cars are the most popular

Beate Jeske
Used ones are more expensive
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T he used car market is on the move, especially vehicle prices are picking up speed on. According to a study by the online exchange mobile.de, the average price of second-hand cars on offer rose by more than three percent to around 18,000 euros in August compared to the same month last year. From mobile.de's point of view, this development is due to the customers' increased willingness to buy.

With this assessment, the market observers are not wrong, as can be seen from the registration figures for August 2011 compared to the previous year: In addition to New cars - the used car business also picked up again and, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), was able to grow by almost four percent.

Small used cars are particularly in demand

But the development in both areas is different . While SUVs and upper mid-range vehicles such as the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or a Mercerdes E-Class are again in demand for new vehicles with the commercial customer market booming, used vehicle customers are increasingly turning to smaller cars. A look at the price development in the respective vehicle classes underlines this: According to mobile.de, the upper middle class recorded an increase of less than one percent within a year, SUVs currently cost 2.5 percent less. Small cars, on the other hand, were almost seven percent more expensive in the same period, while mid-range models such as VW Passat & Co. rose in price by at least five percent.

One from mobile.de exclusively for auto motor und sport analysis of the search queries also shows the trend towards smaller used vehicles. The approximately 63 million visitors per month searched the mobile.de online exchange from the approximately 1.4 million offers that were posted between June and August, primarily models in the price range 5,000 to 10,000 euros (18.2 percent) - most often those who were not older than five years (22.9 percent). In return, as the market observers found, there are vehicles from the minicar segment (on average for 7,283 euros) and from the small car class (on average for 9,605 euros).

10,000 euro mark is pain threshold

Anyone looking for vehicles in the compact class in this age range has to reckon with an average of 14,346 euros, in the middle class with 20,045, in the upper classMiddle class with 29,041 and the SUV even with 30,469 euros. The expensive price regions are also used in the search orders. But the higher the asking price, the more customer interest decreases.

While a large number of inquiries are still in the range between 10,000 and 15,000 euros (16.8 percent), the curve follows that steep down. Between 15,000 and 20,000 euros, the region accounts for just 12.9 percent of all search requests on the Internet portal, and the group of 25,000 to 30,000 euros only 5.8 percent. It seems that the € 10,000 mark represents a pain threshold in the used car trade. After all, around 64 percent of customers do not want to take this hurdle.

They make concessions for this. How else can it be explained that the mileage range of 90,000 to 100,000 kilometers is at the top of the study with a share of 13.6 percent - closely followed by the range 70,000 to 80,000 km (13.0 percent). Overall, half of all inquiries focus on cars with a mileage between 70,000 and 125,000 kilometers.

Brand awareness instead of demands on mileage

With this step, the purchase price can be reduced as well as with the age of the vehicle. Here, too, it looks as if customers are happy to reduce their demands. For example, 18 percent of search requests are for a model that is six to eight years old, and 14.8 percent even have eight to ten years.

As surprising as the analysis may be, in one point if it isn't: When it comes to brand preferences, the used car market is no different from the new car market. It is also dominated by German companies, because 66 percent of the inquiries at mobile.de relate to cars from domestic manufacturers. In all seven segments that the portal specifies as a search criterion, they occupy the top ranks with various models. Hence the tip: If you don't have a strong brand affinity, you drive cheaper if you look for a less popular model from a foreign manufacturer. Because the same applies to the used car sector: supply and demand regulate the price.

You can see which cars are particularly popular in the individual categories in the photo show.

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