MUNICH/OSTFILDERN (dpa-AFX) - Prices for used cars are falling again. The drop is particularly drastic for electric cars, as a recent analysis by market observer DAT for Deutsche Presse-Agentur shows. However, the so-called residual values, which indicate how much is left of the original list price, have also fallen significantly for combustion engines.

A comparison of the current dealer sales figures for typical three-year-old electric cars from April with those from the same period last year shows a drop of 18 percent for electric cars. Petrol and diesel cars also fell significantly, but less dramatically at 7 and 5 percent respectively. Overall, there is a reluctance to buy, according to DAT. As a result, cars are being left in dealers' yards for longer, which is why they are lowering prices. However, the rate of fall is now slowing. "We assume that the first sharp downturn is over and the curve is now flattening out," said a spokesperson.

He attributes the fact that the decline in diesel is less pronounced to lower supply and higher demand. As a result, the percentage residual value of diesel cars overtook that of petrol cars in April - according to DAT, for the first time since 2015, the year of the diesel scandal.

Combustion engines are no bargains either

However, this does not make used combustion engines a bargain by any means. As a result of the coronavirus and chip crisis, their prices have risen enormously in the meantime. Even after the current decline, with residual values of 64.5 percent for petrol cars and 64.6 percent for diesels, they are still far above the values of the pre-corona period, which were typically around 55 percent plus or minus a few points.

"Overall, we have returned to more normal conditions in the used car market after the period of shortage," says Thomas Peckruhn, Vice President of the German Association of the Motor Trade. "The supply is greater and customers no longer have to buy every car."

In the case of electric cars, however, we cannot speak of a normalization: After the current slump, their percentage residual values of 50.7 are well below the pre-corona level, which was similar to that of combustion engines.

Market still in its infancy

The lower residual values are unlikely to trigger a boom in used electric cars. On the one hand, the residual value always refers to the new list price before deduction of premiums and discounts - and this is often significantly higher for electric cars than for comparable combustion engines.

In addition, the market is still in its infancy: In the first four months of the year, the Federal Motor Transport Authority counted just over 44,000 registrations of ownership of pure electric cars - a share of two percent. The background to this is that electric cars still account for a relatively small proportion of the German vehicle population at just under 3 percent. The majority are also still relatively young and many cars are privately owned. Both of these factors mean that the market for used electric cars will probably take some time to take off.

And the gap between electric cars and combustion engines could widen even further: "Residual values in the combustion engine sector are currently relatively stable again ? especially for attractive vehicles," says Peckruhn. "In contrast, there is still pressure in the electric sector."/ruc/DP/zb