The Auto ESA bazaar, where we rent used cars for some tests, came up with interesting statistics.

Bazaar statistics show that Czechs have returned to traditional used cars. The Škoda Octavia with a diesel engine in a station wagon body is simply a Czech classic, and the statistics confirm it once again. Not only were cars a bit more affordable last year, but the long-term advantageous price of diesel also played into the cards for those interested in a used diesel.

In contrast, interest in electric cars dropped significantly, by more than 50%. It is quite possible that after the initial excitement the market has sated and calmed down. Anyone who wanted to test drive an electric car has probably already done so. And there are no new applicants. We can speculate as to what it is, but the lack of public infrastructure, concern about reliable range, and also the threat of high prices for new batteries (often exceeding the residual value of the car) will certainly play a role.

Diesel station wagon most popular again

“We sold 25,000 vehicles last year, which represents an annual increase of 13%. I consider it a very good result,” says Filip Kučera, marketing director of Auto ESA. “Contrary to the previous year, in which smaller petrol cars ruled, customers in 2023 were clearly more interested in larger cars with a diesel engine. The reason was the price difference between diesel and gasoline, which in some months ranged up to six crowns per liter in favor of diesel. Year-on-year interest in battery electric vehicles has dropped significantly. The average age of sold vehicles increased slightly, while the average price of vehicles fell,” he adds.

Photo: Škoda Auto

The most popular used car in our country is still the Škoda Octavia station wagon with a diesel engine. The increased interest in diesels was mainly due to more affordable diesel.

In addition to the long-term favorable price of diesel, the increase in interest in used diesels may also be due to the reassurance of interested parties that the reliability of modern diesel engines is not as bad as was often assumed. We also see from the comments under our articles that many of you are concerned about the unreliability and high repair costs of Euro 6 and later diesels equipped with additional emission complexities (especially the SCR circuit and the need to top up the AdBlue additive). However, it seems that for now there are no major problems with these systems. So even modern diesels can work reliably and there are still enough people who drive enough to make it worthwhile.

It is probably no surprise that the domestic Škoda brand also dominates the used car market. According to Auto ESA statistics, 31% of the cars sold were of this brand, followed by Volkswagen with a 12% share and Ford with a 9.5% share. They are followed by Renault, Hyundai, Peugeot, Citroën, Opel, Kia and Dacia. When it comes to bodies, almost a third (31%) of cars sold are station wagons, classic hatchbacks were chosen by 27% of customers, SUVs account for 13% and MPVs 11% of the market.

In addition to established classics and curiosities

It is interesting that the used car market fairly faithfully copies the statistics of new car registrations, perhaps with the exception of the better position of premium and luxury brands, which mainly come to our market from abroad. As expected, the Škoda Octavia and Škoda Fabia models are the best-selling used cars.

When we break it down into individual generations, the Octavia II still leads, with a share of 5.7%, while the third generation of the popular Škoda has 4.9%. The first generation of the Fabia model still attracts with its low price, simplicity and reliability, it holds the third place with a share of 4.6%.

Last year, Auto ESA also sold real curiosities. For example, the oldest car sold in 2023 was a historic Škoda 105 with a mileage of 80,000 km from 1982, which found a new owner for only CZK 15,200. At the opposite extreme, one Porsche Panamera from 2017 was sold for two million crowns, which was the most expensive car of the entire year.

Cheaper, but also more used

Against the turbulent year 2022, there was a price correction again and the average price of sold used cars fell by roughly CZK 10,000 year-on-year to CZK 190,673. However, the average age of sold cars increased from 11.5 to 11.7 years. The average mileage of sold cars also increased, by 6,000 km to 158,000 km.

After market failures and a lack of new vehicles (or extremely long waiting periods), the situation seems to be stabilizing and the supply of used cars is increasing again. But it is necessary to choose more carefully and not stick to well-known half-truths and myths, such as that there are no nice cars here and that the best used cars are from Germany. This is no longer a general truth.