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“High used car prices are here to stay”

Steve Fowler says the recent used car market chaos will settle down, but the historically high prices are here for the long haul

Steve Fowler opinion

What a time to start a new venture in the car market. Spoticar seems like such a great idea, yet it was launched last year in the middle of twin perils: a global pandemic and the biggest supply shortage the car industry has ever seen.

In case you missed it, Spoticar is a new used-car programme from Stellantis and is set to cover its multiple and varied brands: everything from Fiat and Jeep to Citroen and Vauxhall. In effect, it replaces all the various makers’ own used car programmes, like Vauxhall’s Network Q, but currently only covers former PSA manufacturers Peugeot, Citroen, DS and Vauxhall.

It makes complete sense to group all these firms’ used-car stock under one roof, especially since we’re more likely to shop across brands and categories these days. And it gives Stellantis a ready-made rival to the big start-ups in the used-car retailing world such as Cazoo and Cinch.

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These new players are surrounding themselves with businesses that support used-car supply and retailing. Cazoo has been busy buying those companies, while Cinch is owned by the Constellation Automotive Group, which already also owns BCA (formerly known as British Car Auctions) and WeBuyAnyCar.

The biggest battleground is getting cars to put onto your digital forecourt, which makes Constellation’s business model a smart one. But with Spoticar having access to cars coming back to Stellantis’s dealers and its leasing business, it has a stock advantage, too.

So what does all this mean for used-car buyers? According to Spoticar boss Nick Richards, the used-car market will settle down this year, although there’ll be no huge correction in prices. We will see price stability, though, he says, but supply will still be constrained. 

Is it a great time to buy? For some (like me), needs must. But the usual rule applies – do plenty of research before you buy anything. And remember, we’re always here to help.

Now read about the Best used cars to buy now...

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Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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