Used cars are back in force for Belgians

The used vehicle market picked up much faster than that of new vehicles: + 21.8% in June for used sales. And that continued last month, + 15.2% in July compared to 2019. This rebound of the occasion is clearly more pronounced than that of new.

If we compare the decline since the start of the year, confinement and cessation of activities require, over seven months, the opportunity is certainly the blow – less 13.7% for the moment – but it is much less than the nine , which drops by almost 26.5%. In fact, new car registrations just started to stabilize in July. We are still at minus 1.3%, it’s negligible but it’s still a drop, and after confinement and two months of almost total inactivity on the market, we are not yet really talking about a rebound for these new vehicles. today. It is rather a question of possible and slow return to normal.

A faster return for used vehicles

The cause of this faster return: there has undoubtedly been a massive postponement of sales and purchases made over the past two months which could not be done before. That is, people who wanted to sell their used car in March, April and May and were finally able to do so. But for Olivier Duquesne, who is a journalist with the Automotive Monitor, there have obviously also been changes in purchasing behavior.

IThere is still a shift of some people from new to opportunity

Apart from people who already wanted to buy a used car, there is still a shift of some people from new to used because they want to make a short-term purchase, not knowing what their economic future will be, explains the specialist. We also have people who buy a car for the first time because they have a certain fear of using public transport. It was therefore rather people who were not really daily motorists and who, because of the virus, decided to buy a car, and inevitably a used car since low budget.

So on the one hand, there are those who look to the occasion out of prudence to the detriment of the new. On the other hand, new buyers, sometimes with households who even buy a second car or an additional car.

Not necessarily a victory for the occasion over the nine

It might look like it at first glance, because it is true that stocks of new vehicles among manufacturers are overflowing for certain models and that promotional offers have not been lacking in recent weeks, they were even rather present. But in reality, it is not necessarily a victory of the occasion on the nine. Firstly because there are in any case, each year, more used cars than new cars sold in Belgium – around 100,000 more. Then, these second-hand vehicles, for 90% of them, are private individuals who sell and buy from us, while the new market is mainly driven by businesses and the self-employed.

Companies may also be on hold

Companies may also be on the cusp of suspicion, not knowing if their business will continue as well as they have been able to do, or maybe even the risk of bankruptcy for those who were already in difficulty “, details Olivier Duquesne. “So it can actually also play on vehicle acquisitions, especially in fleets or in leasing contracts.”

The purchasing power of individuals has not generally fallen dramatically in recent months in Belgium. Then it’s summer, and July and August are not peak season for business registrations. In short, for this continuation of the second-hand match against nine, it will probably be necessary to wait until September and the end of the year to see or not a rebound in new vehicle registrations.

The auto show could also be an indicator but we will see if this type of event continues to take place and if the manufacturers are ready to invest, to inject money into it. The Geneva Motor Show, for example, was canceled in 2021. It remains to be seen if that of 2022 will be too.

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