James Ruppert: What We Can Learn From Car Sales Metrics

Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TSI 2015 - tracking front

Budget £12k buys Volkswagen Scirocco diesel in sporty R-Line trim

Sales have dropped in 2019, and the average secondhand asking price is just under 13 pieces. Let's see what the pure can do for us

What did the official used car sales figures to tell? I'm not sure anymore. At first glance, they seem to be convincing and will confirm that any used model has ended up on a Ford Fiesta. It's all coming from the community of motor manufacturers and dealers and they show that the UK used car market last year was more or less on par with 2018. So that's 7,935,105 sales in 2019, down a measly 9935 12 months earlier.

The most reassuring news is that all the diesel-Geddon scaremongering doesn't sway the real-life car buyer. Sales of diesel vehicles decreased by only 0,6%, and gasoline by a little 0.3%. Apparently there have been 'surges' for electric vehicles, but as a percentage of the total market, it was a tiny 0.2%. We will forget about them as they are not considered 'real' used cars. Instead, if you're on this page thinking of something that isn't a supermini, you could make your money go further with a petrol or diesel executive or sports car.

What can we indulge in? This week our budget is based on a fairly high average price which is up 0,6% to £12,800. So how about a big and very scary 2011 BMW 640dm sports coupe for a measly £12,000? It has over 105 miles, but an aspirated dealer says it comes with over £000 worth of extras. This very academic vehicle is ever nine years old, but despite that, here is a great continent-crushing machine for supermini money.

Again, if you want something smaller and less aggressive but just as practical, the late Volkswagen Scirocco is a great model to track. The 2014 2.0 R-line TDI DSG vehicle with 40,000 miles is yours, again for £12,000. This is a single-owner car and I wouldn't worry too much about the automatic transmission. If nothing else, it makes your life easier.

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If you want to get down to hardcore greatness, then £12,000 also gets you aboard a 2014 Toyota GT86 2.0 D-4S with barely 36 miles on it. It will be sold privately, but I think this is a seller you could trust because I liked all the photos and the fact that it was black but spotlessly clean.

But why put up with the roof? It's unbelievable to think that the 2016 Fiat 124 Spyder Multi-Air is now only £12,000. That will get you 35,000 miles for example from full to Lusso specs, leather and 17in alloys. This Mazda MX-5 C is an interesting twist. However, if you're feeling less adventurous there's a 2015 Audi A3 Sportback Sport 2.0 option with 41,000 miles, again at £12,000.

This is all proof that you can spend your used car on something interesting and life-affirming.

What we almost bought this week

Hyundai Sonata 3,0 L. V6: we've been seduced by the big Sonata engine before and still they keep coming, teasing us with their power, comfort, reliability and low prices. This 1997 P-Regge is only 62000 miles long and has a good history and only costs $650. “Great conditions,” boasts the seller. “A rare, sought-after luxury car.” He knows what buttons to press.

Tales from Ruppert's Garage

Volkswagen Golf - mileage, 65,254: back to golf: there's a broken radar surround that was bought a year ago to replace a cracked one. My daughter feels like the world is against her most of the time, but the truth is she is a true warrior and racks up an impressive five figure mileage every year. Not only that, but there is now a crack in the windshield on the driver's side. We'll only have to follow him with MOT for a couple of months. We will buy another piece of rectangular plastic only and maybe a large piece of laminated glass.

Reader's trip

Volvo XC90: many thanks to Leo who returned with us to reveal his latest great purchase, the Volvo XC90: “After the BMW 525i came to an untimely end, I got this XC90 D5. It's done 157,000 miles, but there are 15 Volvo stamps in the book. In 30 years (and 30+ cars) of owning a car, this is my first diesel and my first 4x4 and I love it. This is a later model 185bhp so it averages 30mpg-plus and has a lot of kit. I'm a cross! Oh, I can fit my bike too. It cost £3750 including air conditioning and two front tyres.”

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Questions from readers

Question: I have an old Mercedes that is not that expensive to fix. I want to give it up, responsibly. Who can do this for me? Gavin Sikoma, St. Austell

Answer: Car Recyclers, an association that represents what was once called car "fighters," advises people to sell old cars at a car's authorized end of life authorized treatment facility (ATF ELV). These firms meet relevant environmental standards and are the only ones allowed to issue destruction certificates (COD). Members of the SWG is the safest route, but you can also check the EPA website for a quality company. Ask for a receipt when they pick up your car. You must receive cash on delivery within 14 days. Ye

Question: My 22 year old son has never had glasses or an accident but just sold his Ford Focus ST because the insurance was £1000. It has the same age Focus 1.8-litre diesel, but insurance is only £200 less. Why? Kevin Morgan, via email

Answer: Your son is proof that whoever is driving and, more importantly, how old they are is more of an issue for insurers than the car itself. It's hard to imagine anything more docile than a focus diesel, but luckily there is a solution, at least in part. Assuming you are over 55, have a clean license and no claims, put yourself on its policy as a driver name. You will be able to save your son around £250. Ye

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