With the value of used cars falling, and the cost of motoring rising, many car owners are trying to beat the credit crunch by looking for small, economical used cars.
The high cost of fuel, and the threat of a sharp rise in the cost of road tax for some cars, means that owners are scrabbling to sell their large, less-efficient models and snap up cars that will be cheaper to run.
As a result, industry analysts believe that used car values have dropped by as much as 20% year-on-year over the past three months. They also predict that this trend will continue until at least the end of 2008.
Large MPVs and 4x4s have proved very unpopular, with drops in value of 30% or more. Even family cars are suffering.
Analysts believe that buying superminis and small family cars may have longer-term benefits when the cars are sold, too.
'Although the values of small family cars and superminis are still falling, it’s nowhere near as fast, and in some cases it’s almost levelled off,' said Martin Keighley, from industry experts Vehicle Information Publishing.
The lack of demand for cars is also having a knock-on effect on the value of part-exchange vehicles. Garages are willing to offer only low values against unpopular models in case they end up with cars they can’t sell.
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