In 2022, 642 669 second-hand cars were registered in Belgium, a decrease of 9,4% (66 936 units) compared to the year before (709 605 registrations). Even compared to ‘corona year’ 2020, mobility federation Traxio registered a decline of 2,6%.
In December 2022, a regression of 5% was listed, with 50 950 registrations compared to 53 619 in 2021. We have to go back to 1997 to find lower figures. Twenty-five years ago, 624 835 used cars were registered.
The market for new passenger cars also failed to finish the year with a positive balance, despite five months with rising figures. Last year, 366 303 new cars were registered, 16 280 fewer (-4,4%) than in 2021.
Filip Rylant, spokesperson for Traxio: “2022 was a difficult year for the second-hand car market, and the year ended with a loss of just under 10%. Various factors are involved. The fact is that consumer confidence remains low, and the cost of living is high. On top of that, there’s the lingering energy crisis and the war in Ukraine.”
“Now that new cars can be delivered more easily, more second-hand cars are becoming available again, and the market is evolving toward a new equilibrium. Still, the market for new passenger cars ended the year with a negative balance.”
According to Henri de Hemptinne, president of Grouping of Concessionaires and Agents (Groepering van Concessiehouders en Agenten, GDA), the lack of cars in general and the long delivery times, specifically for new vehicles, is what characterized the market most.
“Cars have become more expensive due to the shortage of cars – demand exceeds supply – and thus the higher prices,” de Hemptinne explains. The additional cost is also the result of more expensive raw materials and more expensive energy. “The second-hand car market has mainly become the private market, and as soon as consumer confidence rises again, the market will increase again,” he concludes.
Remarkable is that more and more companies and self-employed people have found their way to the second-hand car market. “Used cars have become more popular with this type of customer, partly due to the long delivery times for new cars and the immediate availability of second-hand cars,” explains Steven Vanzurpele, spokesperson for Jennes Used Cars.
“Budget remains a decisive element when purchasing a car, and we notice that customers are increasingly comparing between buying a new or a second-hand car,” Vanzurpele concludes.
Diesel on the way down
In 2022, Volkswagen and BMW remained the most popular brands of used cars, followed by Opel, Mercedes, and Peugeot. The most popular models were the Volkswagen Golf and Polo, Opel Corsa, BMW 3, and Ford Fiesta. The same top five as the year before.
There is a further decline in the number of second-hand diesel cars (39,6%), in favor of gasoline (52,9%). The share of hybrid cars rises to 5,5%, while 1,4% of fully electric vehicles were registered on the second-hand passenger car market.
As far as new car registrations are concerned, electrified cars now account for about 44,1% of sales (16,6% HEV, 16,4% PHEV, and 11,1% full EV), while diesel cars hardly represent 14,6% of registrations.