Data on used car transactions in the UK car market analysed by Experian shows that consumers are purchasing smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles.

“Amid economic uncertainty and as the rising cost of living squeezes household budgets, car buyers are more focused on affordability and value than ever before. Our data confirms that consumers in Britain are looking for value and increasingly opting for smaller vehicles – in the used as well as new car markets,” said Andrew Ballard, Product & Propositions Director of Experian Automotive.

The Experian data analyses around 6.8m used car sales a year that take place in the UK (all used car sales, private and trade – original data from DVLA). The 2011 data shows that the mini (A-segment) and supermini (B-segment) segments clearly stand out in terms of volume with a 6.5% increase and a 2.6% increase respectively compared to 2010.  “They were the only segments along with the MPV to show an increase in sales in 2011,” says Ballard “All the other car market segments suffered a drop in units sold. This trend goes back to 2010 when they were once again the only segments to experience an increase in sales.”

Lower running costs, a reduced carbon footprint as well as increased availability of these models are all factors in their increased popularity, Ballard believes. “Consumers are now thinking beyond the initial outlay cost of buying a car and looking into future running costs as well as environmental impact,” he says. 

A report by CAP this week also highlighted the trend towards smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles entering the UK vehicle parc and warned that a hole in government finances may be the result, with the possibility that the government will take measures to raise taxation on motorists.