New Cars vs Used Cars – What to sell as a motor trader

New and used cars

Selling new cars is a lucrative business for many motor traders.  After all, who doesn’t like the smell of a new car, or the cachet of having the latest number plate?

But used and second-hand cars are becoming ever more popular, too. And unless you are a franchised dealer, then you will likely be selling used cars.

Used car values have continued to rise. A combination of scarcity in the market and pent-up demand is perfect for motor traders wanting to get maximum returns on their sales. But it does make sourcing cars at reasonable prices more difficult than before — both for motor traders and your customers.

Why are there fewer used cars on the market, and why have prices risen?

Used car prices have been creeping up for some time. However, the coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to this rise.

In a nutshell:

  • Demand for used cars remains high.
  • Fewer used cars are coming into the market.

Reasons behind this include:

  • People are holding onto their cars for longer as they become more reliable and less costly to service.
  • People have delayed buying new cars because of concerns about the effect of Brexit on the car industry.
  • At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the government urged people to avoid public transport where possible. This pushed more demand for cars.
  • People have been worried about their jobs, with hours cut, redundancies made, and those self-employed struggling to make ends meet. This is especially true in sectors most affected by lockdown, such as retail, hospitality, and live entertainment. Therefore, people are less likely to enter costly long-term finance deals on new cars.
  • More people are becoming car dealers for the first time, to earn extra money during a challenging financial period. This has increased competition for cars and driven a demand for more motor trade insurance.

Everyone is looking to get the maximum value out of their possessions, including cars, during this slow economy. That means they are more likely to service and repair an existing car than splash out on a new one.

Plan to succeed as a used car trader

At ChoiceQuote, we’ve been helping motor traders get the right insurance for more than 25 years. Here are our five top tips to help you succeed in used car sales:

  • Get the price right – Make sure you know how much used cars sell for, and how much they will be worth when sold. What value do you add to make cars worth more when you sell them? It might just be a case of buying a car for a fair price at auction and selling it on for more. Or you might need to do a bit of work on it (bodywork repairs or fitting parts, for example) to add further value. You’ll also need to do your research — make sure that you know which cars sell well, and the best price you can earn from a sale. See our tips on the best cars to sell.
  • Learn to negotiate – You want to buy cars at the lowest possible price and sell them for maximum profit. In other words, you need to know how to haggle! Point out any issues with the vehicle you’re buying to get the best price, then overcome objections when selling by presenting the car in the best possible light.
  • Do a HPI check – Don’t get stung by a stolen vehicle, any outstanding finance or undeclared damaged and repairs. A HPI check gathers information from the police, DVLA and other industry bodies, uncovering any hidden history that might lower the value of the car. We recommend getting a HPI check on each vehicle you are interested in purchasing. It only costs a few quid but can save you a fortune!
  • Know where to buy and sell – Get online to promote your vehicles. Sell on Autotrader, eBay, Gumtree, or Facebook. Advertise across all of these platforms to get the maximum audience reach. Provide clear descriptions and photos to show off your cars in the best light.
  • First impressions count – Make sure the vehicle is clean, tidy and looks the part. That’s half the battle when it comes to selling!

Why customers should buy used rather than new cars:

Occasionally, buyers can be apprehensive when it comes to buying a second hand or used car. Here are some clear benefits to help you convince and win over your clients:

  • Much lower depreciation on used cars
  • Improved reliability and longevity of modern cars
  • Buying second hand is more affordable
  • Road tax is often cheaper on pre-2017 vehicles

Most popular cars to stock in 2021

There are lots of favourite car models that prove popular and shift quickly.

Based on 2020 sales and recommendations from industry experts, some of our favourite used cars to sell in 2021 include:


  1. Ford Fiesta – Fun to drive, and lots of them are available, so servicing and repairing them is relatively inexpensive.
  2. Volkswagen Golf – The second best-selling used car in the UK offers a great choice of models and can suit all budgets.
  3. Ford Focus – Economical to run and as much fun to drive as a Fiesta, the Focus offers extra space for families.
  4. Vauxhall Corsa – Good value, lots of switchgear and punchy engines, the latest used Corsas have a lot to offer.
  5. BMW 3 Series – A quality vehicle to please company car drivers or families alike. It has a strong image, is economical and well built.
  6. MINI – The iconic MINI holds its value well and offers style and substance, backed with the quality of BMW engineering.


Why not pick up a ‘What Car?’ Used Car of the Year award winner? From the great value Hyundai i10 to the luxury Audi Q7, there are lots of quality used cars available.

Get insured

If you are a used car trader, make sure you get your motor trade insurance sorted – it is a legal obligation to have the right cover. At ChoiceQuote, we can help you to compare traders’ insurance quotes from a range of insurers.