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Why do used car prices vary so much?

Why do similar cars, spec and mileage from dealers vary in price, sometimes by a few grand?

Niall Dalton (Moycullen)

Jul 2016 Filed under: used car values

Expert answer

Hi Niall,

Because each dealer’s business is different. Most, if not all, used cars on a dealer’s forecourt will have come in as a trade-in, so the price that the dealer needs to ask (in order to cover their costs and turn a profit) will be different. The amount that they offered the previous owner for that trade-in will be based not just on the intrinsic value of the car itself, but on a number of other factors, especially how many of that make and model the dealer might already have in stock and has to sell before that one moves on. Plus, each dealer has differing overheads such as ground rent, investments in showrooms, staffing levels etc. Beyond that, some dealers offer comprehensive and proper warranties on their used stock, the cost of which has to be factored into the price of each car.

Which is not to excuse dealers from random pricing. One of the great limitations of the Irish used car market is that, unlike the UK where we have access to thinhs such as the CAP Guide and Glass’ to give solid indications for second hand trade values, in Ireland it’s a much more suck-it-and-see, sure-it’ll-be-grand approach.

Neil Briscoe - Complete Car Advisor

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