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Adam Hewitt

Copart Sees Healthy Demand For Used Cars After Covid-19

‘Copart, sees a big upswing of interest in used cars now that the UK is getting back on the road.’


Copart sees demand for used cars after covid-19 post

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the pandemic is leading to a change in people’s car-buying habits and attitudes to driving.

Many thousands of new cars remain unsold – just 145,377 were registered in the UK in June, down 34.9 per cent year-on-year* – however demand for used cars is on the rise.

Alongside this, there’s still a reluctance to use public transport, even with lockdown easing, as many people seek to avoid crowded environments and the risk of infection. This, combined with the likelihood that people will commute less post-pandemic than before, is predicted to lead to a 20% cut in the use of trains and buses in the longer term.**

On top of this, money is tighter for many, and then there’s the cultural influence of TV shows focused on the importance of recycling, reuse and restoration in general. This is encouraging people to repair and restore used vehicles rather than buying new, as it can provide good value for money.

Car Commuting Is The Sanitised Solution

Copart, a leading remarketer of used cars in the UK, has seen a big upswing of interest now that the UK is getting back on the road.

As the government encourages people to return to work if they can, many commuters aren’t keen on using trains and buses because of the potential infection risk from using public transport. This is further supported by a survey conducted by Auto Trader.

This survey tells us that 48% of people are now reluctant to use public transport at all, and website Car Dealer has reported that 7% of Londoners are now shopping around for a car, rather than using the tube, buses and trains. While those percentages may be small, in the traditionally car-hating capital where congestion charges and low-emission zones make commuting by car a last choice, that’s quite a shift away from public transport.

The attraction of having your own sanitised and private space is a powerful economic factor right now. The solution is to buy your own car or motorcycle for commuting, and a used car – even one with repairable cosmetic damage – can provide a cost-effective solution for many.

These factors have led to Copart seeing an increase in requests for discounted cars with superficial accident damage that could be rectified, as well as a widening of their registered member database, says the company’s UK and Ireland managing director, Jane Pocock.

“Our new member recruitment is really strong, and we’ve been handling a record volume of member enquiries – up 30% year-on-year,” she says. “This has been strengthened by the expansion of our UK wide contactless delivery service, which has enabled us to continue supporting the repair industry throughout the pandemic.”

In addition, Copart has seen increased interest from car enthusiasts who are brushing up their repair skills and are looking to buy a range of damaged repairable vehicles, including modern classics. TV shows such as The Repair Shop, Wheeler Dealers and Salvage Hunters have definitely influenced many amateur restorers who are keen to bid online.

Copart UK has the biggest pool of vehicles available for repair, with around 6,000 vehicles currently on sale in their online auctions. That is welcome news for insurers, as it gives them the ability to reach thousands of potential buyers, in a market that always prospers during times of an economic downturn, says Pocock.

“As values rise and the pool of bidders increases, we are seeing a huge take-up when it comes to online auctions,” she says.

“Physical auctions are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as customers continue to demand more contactless services, but the number of internet bidders has more than replaced those numbers. There is a captive, and very engaged audience out there looking to source used cars, vans and motorcycles.

“This influx of new buyers has helped support Copart’s auction performance – bidding is up 25% and we will continue to invest in our fleet, services and technology to support this growing buyer base for our customers’ vehicles.

“It’s all very good news for insurers because it boosts our ability to maximise value from accident-damaged older vehicles, and despite these incredibly challenging times Copart are seeing higher returns at auction than ever before.”

* latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

**survey by transport infrastructure consultant SYSTRA

This article was produced in association with Copart UK

This article first appeared in


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.