Why used cars cost so much more than they used to

If buying a used electric car is down, it still remains very high. In question, the aging of the car fleet, while the French are less inclined to change vehicles.

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular in France, to such an extent that they sell better than diesel-powered models. And this despite the extended delays caused by the shortage of semiconductors, among other things, as well as the logistical concerns related to the war in Ukraine. But prices still remain high, even though the trend is down.

High prices

Indeed, it will be necessary to expect a fall in prices during the decade, in particular for the small models. But in the meantime, buying a new electric car is not within everyone’s reach, despite the ecological bonus of 5,000 euros. Especially since the eligibility conditions could be even more severe next year.

It is not surprising that the price still remains a major obstacle for potential buyers. Some therefore choose to turn to second-hand, a less expensive alternative that avoids having to undergo a long delivery time. Especially since the prices of second-hand cars tend to fall.

This is indeed what a recent study by LeBonCoin explained, which we mentioned in a previous article. In question, the increase in supply, since out of 700,000 advertisements for the sale of cars, 25,000 concern electric cars. A figure that has been multiplied by three compared to last year. For this reason, prices fell 12% in May compared to January, with an average of 29,590 euros.

A price that still remains quite high and that is, again, not within everyone’s reach. But what explains that second-hand cars, and in particular electric models are also expensive ? In reality, the answer is to be found in the habits of motorists.

Still low supply

In any case, this is what reveals another study recently published by LeBonCoin, which details the general aging of the French vehicle fleet. But what does this have to do with the high price of electric cars? In fact, this is related to the falling supply in the market. Indeed, and as the press release explains, the French find it difficult to part with their cars and tend to sell them less.

Thus, the average age of vehicles offered on the second-hand market is rising, from 8.4 years on average in 2020 to 9.2 years in 2023. Which means there are fewer recent cars for sale, and therefore fewer offers. At the same time, demand is still very strong since the shortage of semiconductors has not yet been fully resolved.

The situation should return to normal by next year, with lead times becoming more reasonable. In this case, the demand for used cars should be a little weaker, and prices should drop slightly. In addition, it is mainly cars over 8 years old that are offered for sale. However, most electric models are newer, which is why they are rare.

The average age of zero-emission cars (exhaust) is also the lowest with hybrids, with an average of 2.6 years in 2023. In addition, Olivier Flavier, Vice-President Mobility LeBonCoin explains that “ the fact that most new models are acquired in the form of LLD and more during a purchase also explains the scarcity of models on the second-hand market“.

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