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48% of prospective UK car buyers are now looking to buy used, with another 20% undecided, according to a new study by automotive video specialist, CitNOW.

Mechanical reliability was found to be the top used buyer concern, ahead of bodywork problems, accident damage and electrical faults.

Interestingly, just 19% of consumers were concerned about the travelling time needed to view a car.

Detailed customer videos can highlight all the essential details, including mileage and bodywork condition, building a transparent relationship between the retailer and even the most wary of customers,” said Ollie Parsons, head of sales and client services at CitNOW.

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However, while digital technology can clearly help smooth the sales process, the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) has issued a cautionary note on the condition of some used stock.

Stock shortages – and subsequently high prices – have reached a point where many traders simply cannot get hold of stock in the condition they want,” said VRA chair, Glenn Sturley.“Most of these traders don’t want to actually retail poorer quality stock, so the compromise they are making is to buy vehicles in poorer condition and then invest in making them suitable for their forecourts. 

Many buyers will inevitably be nervous of this shift. The challenge of accurately estimating repair costs through a visual inspection intensifies with the attention that the vehicle requires.

Conversely, when competition for the best vehicles is so high, vendors stand to more than recoup their costs if they improve the condition of their vehicles before moving them on. Removing the risk for buyers will be rewarded with the strongest wholesale prices.

The VRA believes that, overall, the general condition of used cars is improving. It also predicts that the used market will remain buoyant in comparison to the new sector well into next year. Get a vehicle check, which includes if the car has been stolen, written off or still on finance, at MyCarCheck.

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