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Do used cars represent good value for money?Analysis shows that increases in values have outstripped the Consumer Price IndexBy Adrian Rushmoremanaging editor, Glass'sGiven that used car prices are always in a state of flux, it is useful to take the occasional snapshot of the current position relative to recent history, and to the cost of other popular goods and services. So, what is the value of a used car relative to the earlier years of this century? Most impor-tantly, what are retail buyers being expected to pay, and does this equate to good value for money?For the purposes of this exercise we are taking the Guide trade values for all three-year-old cars at December of each year from 2001 to 2011.Ignoring the 'bust' and 'boom' between 2008 and 2009, prices have generally been moving in an upward direction since 2005. Since the beginning of the period the average value has moved from just under £6,000 to £8,000, an increase of more than 33%. At first sight this appears to be surprisingly high. However, to put this into context it would be useful to compare this increase with the increases of a fixed basket all goods and services. The most common unit of measurement is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and it is also the Government's inflation target. By setting the start point for inflation at the average used car value in 2001, it is possible to superimpose the annual increases on the original chart to produce the trend, as shown below.The immediate conclusion is that CPI lags behind the trend in used car values over the ast 11 years. If we had set the start point at 2005, this difference would be even more obvious. In other words, used car values currently look £0£1,000£2,000£3,000£4,000£5,000£6,000£7,000£8,000£9,000Dec 01Dec 02Dec 03Dec 04Dec 05Dec 06Dec 07Dec 08Dec 09Dec 10Dec 11 3 year allWhole market three-year-old residual trend£0£1,000£2,000£3,000£4,000£5,000£6,000£7,000£8,000£9,000Dec 01Dec 02Dec 03Dec 04Dec 05Dec 06Dec 07Dec 08Dec 09Dec 10Dec 113 yr allCPIWhole market 3yr-old residual values v CPIContinues overNew car marketNewsDealerprofileNew carnewsUsed carRecruitmentanalysisNewsdigestShowroomUsed car analysis