Belgian used car market moves at snail’s pace

According to Filip Rylant, spokesperson for mobility federation Traxio, second-hand car market growth cooled considerably in September after three months of double-digit growth. Interest in used cars remains high, and although the increase is moderate, the market is still developing favorably. The good news is that second-hand car availability is increasing, and prices are stabilizing.

Last month, 55 277 second-hand cars were registered. A modest growth of 4,1% compared to 2022 and a loss of 10,1% compared to 2021. Cumulatively, over the first nine months, the increase is 7,2% or 34 752 units more than in the same period of 2022, but there is a deficit of 25 343 units compared to 2021 (-4,7%).

The effect of the recently announced premium for second-hand electric cars in Flanders remains to be seen. From 2024, a subsidy of €3 000 can be obtained for a second-hand EV. That market segment is currently still highly underrepresented at just 1,7%.  “The success of this premium will largely depend on the number of available used cars under 40 000 euros, combined with the electric appetite of the private customer,” says Rylant.


However, there seems to be a marathon sprint going on with new cars this year. In September, new registrations increased by 25,4% (38 906 units). We are still catching up, which means 2023 will achieve good figures that are expected to level off gradually.

According to some major second-hand sellers, the month of September got off to a slow start, but sales have made progress compared to September 2022. Demand for PHEVs and EVs remains very low, and the gasoline engine remains the most requested motorization (53,5%). The share of diesel cars continues to decline (to 36,4%).

Prices are stable

Demand for used cars (with low mileage) remains but is not growing; prices are stable, and sufficient supply exists. Unfortunately, the smallest models are difficult to find. Garages remain very busy with after-sales activities, indicating that people continue to drive their cars longer rather than replacing them now.

Volkswagen and BMW remain the best-selling brands of second-hand passenger cars in September 2023, ahead of Mercedes, Opel & Peugeot. The most popular models are the VW Golf (21 681 units), VW Polo (15 406), Opel Corsa (14 375), BMW 3 Series (12 665), and Ford Fiesta (10 834). The median age of used car registrations is seven years and eleven months.


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