Second-hand cars selling for same price as new in France

A shortage of new car parts has pushed up demand for second-hand models that are a couple of years old, with prices rising by 20% since early 2021

An image of cars in a car dealership
The price of newer second-hand cars is sometimes topping that of a new model in France
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Second-hand car prices have been rising for months in France and are now on a level with new models in some cases.

This is because new car production was slowed down during the Covid crisis, which has been followed by a global semiconductor shortage.

This means that new cars are still not being manufactured at the same rate, and so are not entering the market in great enough numbers to meet demand.

Therefore, newer second-hand cars made in the last few years are also hard to come by, which is pushing their price up.

Normally, a new car would see its value drop by half over the first four years of its life, but at the moment, this is not proving to be the case.

Second-hand models such as the Dacia Sandero and Duster and the hybrid Toyota C-HR and RAV are sometimes selling for more than a newly-manufactured equivalent, Laurent Potel, the CEO of sales platform Reezocar, told Le Parisien.

The popularity of these cars can perhaps be explained by the introduction of zones à faibles émissions (low-emission zones), in which especially polluting cars are not allowed to drive.

Read also: Toulouse introduces new low-emission zone for vans and trucks

Toyota Auris prices are also rising partly because they are the cars often chosen by taxi and Uber drivers in France.

Prices up 20% on 2021

Second-hand cars are on average 20% more expensive than they were at the beginning of 2021, Vincent Hancart, the French director of Auto-Scout 24, told Les Échos in August.

Prospective buyers are choosing to pay more for a vehicle which is a couple of years old instead of having to wait for a new model to become available, with pre-orders on new cars sometimes stretching up to 12 months at the moment.

Motoring firms like taxi ranks and car-hire companies are also beginning to opt for second-hand vehicles, which is increasing demand and therefore prices.

“Stocks are drying up,” Mr Hancart said.

Last year was a record year for second-hand car sales, but the rising price has put an end to this surge. Between January and July 2022, 3.1 million second-hand cars were sold in France, marking a decline of 13.9% compared to the same period in 2021.

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