Drop in Levels of Outstanding Finance Owed on Used Cars in Ireland

Levels of Finance Outstanding on Irish Vehicles Dropping Slightly

Our latest data findings can reveal a drop in overall levels of finance outstanding on used car purchases in Ireland in 2021. Generally speaking, this is likely attributable to the pandemic and a Post-Brexit environment. From a sample of over 5,906 vehicles offered for sale and checked via the Cartell.ie website in the first 11 months of 2021, the figures show that while 31 percent of three-year-old vehicles are offered for sale with finance outstanding, this value has actually dropped year-over-year from 36 per cent the previous year (2020).

Likewise in the case of one-year-old vehicles (2020), the levels of vehicles offered for sale with finance outstanding is 31%. This means there is still more than a one-in-four chance of a one-year-old vehicle being offered for sale with finance outstanding but the overall level has dropped from 34% for one-year-old vehicles purchased in the previous year.

Similarly in the case of two-year-old vehicles (2018) checked in 2020 there was a 36% chance of a vehicle from that year being offered for sale with finance outstanding based on checks on Cartell.ie in 2020, but, similar to one-year-old and three-year-old cars, the level has dropped – to 33% last year.

Graph 1: Percentages of Vehicles with Outstanding Finance by Registration Year checked on Cartell.ie (Source: Carstat, Cartell.ie)

Older vehicles are not seeing the same declines, and, in some occasional cases the figures for older vehicles are actually going-up. So, seven-year-old vehicles in 2021, for instance, returned 13% with finance outstanding in the first eleven months of 2021 but were pitched slightly lower at 12.5% in 2020. Similarly, six-year-old vehicles are returning the same value as the previous year – at 15%.

Jeff Aherne, Innovation Lead, Cartell.ie, says: “The overall percentages of vehicles offered for sale with finance outstanding in key registration years has fallen from 2020 levels, we saw this when we ran the figures in the middle of last year, and the trend consolidated throughout the remaining part of the year. As always buyers should continue to be cautious. Even taking six-year-old vehicles as an example, nearly one-in-six of those still return outstanding finance. The levels of finance, at the top of the market, despite the recent drop, are still high – 33% of two-year-old vehicles last year are listed as having outstanding finance.

Buyers are strongly advised to be cautious in the market as you cannot take good title in the asset until the final payment has been paid to the financial institution. This means you may be buying a huge problem.”

Cartell speculated on why there has been a noticeable drop in finance levels this year compared with last year, these include:

  • Overall market is down owing to the pandemic and post-Brexit environment
  • Less new cars sold
  • Finance hesitant to loan to people if job not secure
  • Work from home so less need for new car
  • People had more money saved so less need for finance
  • Trade in values were strong so less need to finance delta
  • Less imports
  • People holding onto cars longer owing to stocking issues or delays in getting a new car owing to chip-shortage

To check the finance history of the used vehicle you are interested in you can purchase a Cartell 3 Star History Check which includes a full finance check for Irish and UK imported vehicles.