Hungarian Used Car Market Shows Signs of Recovery

Automotive

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According to preliminary DataHouse data, 64,000 cars changed hands in February, down 4% from 67,700 in January, but if the calendar effect is adjusted for - February being the shortest month - this equates to an average of around 70,000 units per month, according to a press release by Jóautók.hu.

"The domestic used car market started the year in a relatively favorable environment: the uncertainty caused by the winter season seems to be easing, and buyers are again daring to spend more on durable goods," explains Bertalan Halász, CEO of JóAutók.hu.

"The shortfall compared to the first months of last year may seem significant, but the monthly figures of well over 70,000 last year were due to specific market effects. During this period, the supply of new cars hit rock bottom due to the shortage of semiconductors, long waiting lists developed and part of the demand here also migrated to the used car market," he adds.

Overall, the outlook for this year is positive: used imports are gradually recovering from the trough at the end of the year, and the new car market is expected to gradually normalize as the chip shortage problem is resolved. This will lead to an expansion of the domestic car fleet, creating the potential for a further strengthening of the domestic used car market, Jóautók.hu notes.

However, the age composition of the vehicles on the market is a problem: according to this year's data, more than 75% of used cars changing hands were at least 10 years old. This is linked to the fact that the overall car fleet in Hungary is aging: the average age of the car fleet rose to 15.4 years last year, according to the KSH, almost three years higher than the average age of 12.5 years registered a decade ago.

Only a further significant recovery in the new car market can change this trend. In the current situation, buyers looking for a second-hand car run an increasing risk of buying a sub-standard car. Therefore, the role of controlled second-hand car marketplaces, where only vehicles with a properly documented history can be offered, is more important than in the past, the press release notes.

In the first two months of 2023, 132,700 cars changed hands on the used car market, 6% down on the 141,200 registered in the same period last year. Meanwhile, the number of new cars registered was 18,062, up 3%from 17,539 a year earlier.

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