Bringing more confidence to car buying

9 out of 10 car buyers think car pricing should be more transparent and are worried about not getting a fair deal1. We’re bringing more confidence to the car buying process through trust and transparency and helping you demonstrate the value of your vehicles, better than ever before.

Improving car buying through trust and transparency

As the UK's most trusted automotive classified brand2, we have a need to address car buyers’ main worries. Our aim is to give car buyers confidence in three key areas: confidence in the vehicle, confidence that the price is fair and confidence in you as a retailer.

Bringing confidence in three key areas

Confidence in the vehicle

Helping you sell the benefits of the vehicle by making it easy for car buyers to see key vehicle details at a glance.

A mileage indicator to help car buyers understand how the mileage compares to similar cars of the same age

Extra features clearly shown to buyers

Service history, previous owners, used approved schemes and vehicle check highlighted

Confidence in you

Demonstrating what you offer and how you stand out as a retailer through reviews and award wins.

Reviews added to search results and given more prominence on your advert

Highly Rated and Retailer Awards highlighted

Confidence in the price

Providing price transparency to car buyers with an impartial valuation from the most trusted brand in Automotive. Our valuation is an accurate view of the price for that vehicle in the market which we display alongside all the other factors a car buyer may consider important in their buying decision.

New price indicator dial, adding fair and high price to low, great and good

Shows the amount above or below market value

Mileage and extra feature indicators to give price more context

Reassure car buyers with our award-winning valuations

Adjusted by derivative for age, mileage and spec, AT valuations reflect the live market. You know how to price your vehicles and understand automotive, but your buyers don’t. 7/10 don’t want to haggle, they just want transparent pricing1. We can change this perception by giving confidence in your pricing. Car buyers trust Auto Trader the most, with 3 times more car buyers trusting us than our nearest competitor2.

Used Car Valuations Provider of the Year

Our valuations just won an award for being the best in the industry, voted for by you – thank you!

Price to market for the best return

Our data scientists analyse the live market daily and our data shows that pricing to the market is the quickest way to sell and make the most profit.

If you feel you can justify pricing above market, we’re giving you all the tools to demonstrate why on your adverts to car buyers though your reviews, extra features, mileage indicator, service history and owners, and more.

Why are we making these changes?

Car buyers find the process frustrating today and 42% of in-market buyers say they’re unlikely to continue to purchase. Over half of consumers don’t feel the process has improved, and with expectations set ever higher by other industries, there is a real need for change. Three things top consumers’ list of worries when buying a used car: paying a fair price, knowing whether they can trust the seller and that information about the vehicle is accurate.

88%

Of car buyers think pricing needs to be more transparent1

52%

Of car buyers don’t think car buying has got any easier1

60%

Complete a purchase in a state of exhaustion1

If we fix these inefficiencies and make car buying easier, 1 in 3 car buyers would change car more frequently

Our customer promise

Everything we do is designed to make car buying easier and help connect the right buyers to the right vehicles as easily and quickly as possible. We're focused on driving more connections for retailers and on achieving three key customer promises:

Trust

Giving car buyers confidence in the vehicle, the retailer they are buying from and the price of the vehicle.

Time

Making car buying easier by showing relevant results and useful information upfront to car buyers. Helping connect them to the right vehicle, from the right retailer, delivering you meaningful customer connections and not questions.

Transparency

Giving car buyers the information they need to feel confident in their buying decision.

FAQs

We also don’t set the valuations; we play back what we see in the market. Our team of data scientists monitor over 1.9 million vehicles each day, including 90,000 vehicle updates and an average of 19,000 vehicles added or removed from Auto Trader. Coupled with data from circa 450,000 trade used car listings every day, as well as additional dealer forecourt and website data, they’re a true reflection of the live retail market.

We value the vehicle, not the retailer. There are elements which are not included in Auto Trader valuations, because these do not objectively influence the value of the vehicle. These factors are still important but are subjective based on the individual car buyer’s needs. Factors such as condition, location, reputation, dealer service, warranties, service history, number of owners, etc are all subjective and personal to each car buyer. Some car buyers will absolutely want a vehicle in near-new condition and be willing to pay for it. Some car buyers will be flexible on previous owners, or be willing to travel further. These are all decisions that Auto Trader’s valuations can’t make on behalf of the car buyer. We provide them with the objective view of that vehicle’s price in the market, along with all the other elements they should consider to decide if that vehicle at that price, represents good value to them.

Car buyers will be comparing similar vehicles and our price indicator flags and the variance to market gives them another tool to compare similar vehicles. We recommend that you tell us about all the optional extras so that these are displayed to car buyers and use the attention grabber to highlight any special features that a buyer looking for this type of vehicle would look for. Your dealer review rating will go a long way to reassuring car buyers that they should be confident buying from you and that that vehicle could represent good value for them.

Vehicles are valued nationally to ensure we’re comparing apples with apples and giving consumers a fair view. A car priced above market in a specific location is still above the market average, but a consumer may perceive this to still offer value due to factors important to them.

We are seeing a shift in the marketplace towards online transactions and retailers are increasingly delivering vehicles to buyers across the country. Our valuations data needs to reflect the current and future retail landscape.

Consumer transparency is becoming a must in modern retailing and price transparency is key in the car buying process – topping the list of car buyer concerns. We believe that being transparent with car buyers is the only way to drive trust and confidence. The price variance allows car buyers to better compare similar vehicles and decide if the factors that set them apart are worth the price difference.

Where a vehicle is priced to market, we won’t show variation to market valuation on the advert, this will say “close to market”. We also don’t show days in stock on our adverts or reveal previous pricing changes made. 7/10 car buyers don’t want to haggle, they just want transparent pricing.

Our recent changes to search moved the focus away from cheapest first, to a relevance-based approach, focusing on connecting the right buyer to the right vehicle. Our guidance on pricing has always been to price to market, which is still true today. We didn’t see retailer margins erode when we had a sort order that favoured cheaper vehicles and we don’t expect to see that here. Vehicles sell quicker and for more profit when priced to market and that’s where the majority of consumers shop.

It’s always been true that in general, the further away from the market average a vehicle the slower it sells, even before we made these changes. Car buyers are already comparing price of vehicles they’re choosing between and know which vehicles are more expensive, we just don’t make it as easy for them to work it out today, contributing to the perception of car buying being a complicated process and leading to a mistrust of retailers. We’re adding great new features such as the Extra features and mileage indicator along with reviews in search to help you sell your vehicle and you to car buyers.

These changes apply to used cars only.

Whilst price is important to consumers, it isn’t the only thing that matters to car buyers. Our search sort order incorporates a range of factors that matter to car buyers, using its machine learning system. As a result, there are no hard rules about how pricing affects search order, and whilst adverts following best practice have the best chance of appearing higher in search, for any particular search, it’s possible to see pricing flags in any order.

Paid prominence products such as standard, advanced and premium packages or our Lead Gen (Pay per Click) product will retain their positioning in search results as they are calculated independently of regular search results and unaffected by price indicator flags.

This is a new way to help you highlight options, upgrades and spec packs to car buyers, demonstrating the value of the vehicle in relation to the price. This helps buyers to know if this is the right car for them and helps you sell the car better. For spec to appear in this section, it needs to be added via the “Options, upgrades and specification packs” section on the “Confirm spec” tab in vehicle edit. Adding optional spec here is the best way to ensure the valuation for that vehicle is as accurate as possible, and of highlighting these options to car buyers on your advert.

If you send us your stock via a data feed, you must send additional spec via the “Upgrades” column, not in “Standard spec”.

Consumers will still look at high priced vehicles – they get views today even though a car buyer can tell they’re more expensive than similar vehicles. Car buyers compare on price today, it just takes them longer and it’s harder for them to see why a vehicle might be more expensive which these changes help put right.

We know that cars priced high today, before high flags sell slower and for less profit. However they do sell, and we remain the best place to advertise to reach in-market car buyers. Remember if it’s not online, it’s not for sale.

We are not able to provide a valuation or price indicator flag for all vehicles. Vehicles which do not have a flag will be because of one or more of the categories below.

  • Brand new or nearly new
  • Rare or classic
  • Listed by private sellers
  • Priced below £1,500
  • Priced above £50,000
  • Over 15 years old
  • Cat C/D/S/N
  • Imported

Our mileage indicator gives car buyers an indication as to whether this represents a good mileage for that vehicle. We compare your vehicle to similar vehicles, looking at the same manufacturer, model, month of registration and fuel type. This is clearly communicated to car buyers when looking at your advert.

Yes, all adverts will contain the same information such as reviews and price indicator in search, regardless of the prominence they are given.

Spec that is included in the retail description or provided via the “Options, upgrades and specification packs” section in Portal will both affect the valuation. The only difference is that only spec provided in the “Options, upgrades and specification packs” section in portal will be highlighted in the new “Extra features” section of the advert.

This will take up to 15 minutes to update and appear

Yes, customers in Northern Ireland will have the same changes applied to their adverts, including the updated price indicator system.

If a customer has an Auto Trader dealer website we will suppress the high flag and only show low through fair price flags. Retailers do have the options to suppress all price indicator flags on their website if they wish to by going into the options and suppressing price indicator flags.

Yes they will have a mileage indicator as they are considered a used car.

1Auto Trader Car Buyers Report 2019

2Auto Trader Brand Tracker, August 2019