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Used Car Market in Poland Sees Rising Demand, Stabilizing Prices, and Shifting Preferences

AUTOMOTIVEUsed Car Market in Poland Sees Rising Demand, Stabilizing Prices, and Shifting Preferences

Interest in used cars is on the rise, leading to a decrease in the number of second-hand cars being offered for sale at the start of this year – for the first time in a long while. However, their price did increase, on average by 1,000 PLN compared to December of the previous year. The top three most popular models and types of drives remained unchanged: diesel engines and gasoline engines remain the most popular. However, the popularity of hybrid cars is gradually rising and these are often sought after by drivers. Meanwhile, the segment of electric cars, although still relatively small, recorded over a double increase in the number of offers last year.

“We forecast that in 2024, the used car market will see a stabilization that has already been ongoing for several months in our Western neighbors. We also expect the fleet of used cars to continue getting younger. We have increasingly stringent emission regulations, customers hear about it, and this may be one of the factors causing interest in older cars to somewhat decline,” says Paweł Molasy, business country manager AAA Auto Polska, in an interview with Newseria Biznes.

According to the “AAA Auto Barometer” report, based on the analysis of data on the sale of used cars in commissions, by dealers, and on websites, in January of this year, for the first time in two years, the number of car offers on the Polish secondary market decreased. In total, nearly 196,000 second-hand cars were offered for sale, marking a decline of almost 2.8 thousand compared to December of the previous year. This decline is a result of increased demand, stemming from positive information from the financial market, including a decrease in inflation and an increase in the purchasing power of customers, including entrepreneurs. A similar trend can also be seen in the primary market.

AAA Auto statistics also show that the median price of cars on the secondary market in January of this year was 33.9 thousand PLN (compared to 32.9 thousand PLN in December of the previous year). The most expensive cars were offered in the Masovian Voivodeship (median price: 41.4 thousand PLN.), where the greatest number of second-hand car sale offers also appeared last month. The top three most popular models offered for sale remained unchanged (in order: Opel Astra, Audi A4, and Volkswagen Golf), as did the types of drives. Diesel engines (92,57 thousand offers) took the first place, followed by gasoline engines (85.3 thousand). Further down were cars powered by LPG (11.4 thousand offers), hybrids (4.8 thousand), and electric ones (1.85 thousand). In January of this year, three offers of hydrogen fuel cell cars also appeared on the Polish secondary market.

“The cars most in demand at the moment are those with gasoline engines, as diesel engines no longer provide the same substantial savings as before. The difference in fuel costs is so small that the cost of servicing and operating such a car does not pay off when looking at the low mileage customers currently make. That’s why diesel cars are taking the lead among used car sale offers: more customers want to sell than buy cars with these engines,” says the AAA Auto Poland expert.

The expert points out that the offer of hybrid and electric cars is continuously increasing on the Polish market. In this former group, in 2023, 54.3 thousand cars were offered for sale. The number of electric cars offered for sale, on the other hand, reached nearly 9.7 thousand, which is 124% more than in 2022. Alongside, the median price also increased – from 109.3 thousand PLN to 132.9 thousand PLN. For this amount, you could buy a car with a median age of 3.3 years and a median mileage of 32 thousand km. According to AAA Auto experts, despite such a dynamic increase, the number of electric car offers is still small and will remain so for several more years. An upturn will be seen when the first owners of electric cars bought in recent years put them up for sale. This market segment could also be stimulated by potential government incentives for the purchase or use of electric cars.

“I think that our market is still not mature enough for electric cars. These are still expensive cars, and the charging infrastructure is not as developed as we would like it to be. On the other hand, the mileage and distances that are driven on the Polish market are so large that an electric car cannot always be the only car in the family. However, when it comes to hybrid cars, the new car market is currently heavily leaning towards them. Over 50% of new cars are sold as hybrids, so we estimate that thanks to this, the secondary market in this segment will also grow in the forthcoming years,” says Paweł Molasy.

On the other hand, traditional drives will gain popularity as the year 2035 approaches and the EU shifts towards zero-emission vehicles.

“The price of new cars will rise, and more and more electric cars will be introduced for sale, which are not the cheapest and not everyone can afford to own them. Therefore, we estimate that this will impact our market positively, and interest in combustion engine cars, although used, will be growing,” assesses the expert.

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