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Is 2024 the Year to Start Investing in Hybrids and EVs? See What European Customers Want

Electric and hybrid vehicles offer great opportunities to skilled used cars dealers who know how to respond to consumer preferences even in a slowing market.

power cable pump plug in charging power to electric vehicle EV car

Hybrid and electric vehicles have become a common sight on European roads. Long-term cost-efficiency, the rising environmental consciousness of potential car owners, and - perhaps most importantly - various government incentives have been boosting their popularity.

However, despite this overall positive electric cars trend, EV remarketing can undoubtedly be challenging. 

If you’re a trader in the used cars niche, you might be concerned about the apparent instability of the electric vehicle market in 2024 and wonder if you should expand your dealership’s fleet with used electric and hybrid vehicles.

In this article, we’ll examine whether this caution is justified and whether investing in used electric and hybrid vehicles could bring you long-term benefits.

In other words, we’ll explore if car dealerships should treat 2024 as the year for electric vehicle investment.

Is 2024 a turning point for EVs and hybrid vehicles in Europe?

The EV market is evolving in 2024 - consumer preferences and policies are changing, and there are also practical concerns regarding the supply chain and the EV charging infrastructure. 

Naturally, this affects the used cars market, too. Here’s how.

Current EV/hybrid trends in Europe 

In recent years, the European automotive market has become much more open to electric vehicles. 

So, for instance, Acea reports that in the final months of 2023, battery-powered electric vehicles even overtook diesel-powered cars in terms of their share in the market. 

Data: acea

In spite of their overall popularity, sources like TechHQ report that used electric and hybrid cars still tend to remain in dealership car lots for longer than is desirable, going unsold for as long as 90 days.

Autovista’s Monthly February 2024 Report acknowledges a dip in the European automotive market and lower residual value of such vehicles, but also points out that battery-powered electric vehicles are among the fastest-selling used cars in major European markets like Germany, with plug-in hybrids holding the top spot. 

Data: Autovista

In that light, it’s important to point out that a lack of subsidies for EVs in some countries and recent cuts to subsidies in countries like Germany contribute to the apparent stagnation in the electric vehicle market.

However, with developments in the market, as well as the emerging technologies and new charging infrastructure set to make these vehicles more affordable in the future, the consumers’ reliance on government incentives while purchasing EVs and hybrids will also be reduced.

Our predictions for the used cars market in 2024

Car Edge has analyzed Black Book’s data and identified several trends likely to affect the used car market in 2024, starting with a slight decline in wholesale and retail prices. 

However, they do point out that the drop is relative, since prices have been relatively high for some time, following a historic high in 2022 and 2023. 

Here’s what the prices were like over the past years according to Black Book and Car Edge

The article attributes the relatively low turnover of used cars in car dealerships to these high prices, pointing out that hybrid and electric vehicles are generally more expensive than vehicles with internal combustion.

Similarly, another report by Autovista predicts the growth of both used and new car markets in 2024, thanks to the increased availability of more affordably priced vehicles. Electric and hybrid cars will further increase their share in the market relative to vehicles with internal combustion.

Is now the time for automotive businesses to invest in hybrids and EVs?

As we’ve already pointed out, the market will face unique challenges in 2024. However, this state of change presents unique opportunities for savvy used car dealerships unafraid of EV investment.

Current challenges in the EV and hybrid segment

In addition to lagging sales in the European automotive market and the prospect of other countries following Germany’s example in reducing incentives for EV buyers, the EV and hybrid segment currently faces several challenges.

We covered some of them in our previous article on the reasons to expand your used cars fleet with electric vehicles

On the macro level, there are concerns about the automotive supply chain, as supply bottlenecks have already caused the demand for EV and hybrid cars to exceed the supply in the past.

In ways more directly relevant to the consumer, there are the issues of affordability, which we’ve already touched upon in the previous segment, as well as the very practical questions that can be broadly described as “battery anxiety”. 

These concerns the duration of a single battery charge, combined with limited charging infrastructure, raising questions about the range such vehicles can cover.

However, many of these challenges should resolve themselves with continued focus and investment into sustainable transportation.

A closer inspection reveals that all those questions reflect a broader, more crucial issue here and that the electric vehicle market is evolving away from early adopters towards a wider market.

This shift toward a broader market appeal will dictate the efforts of suppliers and policy makers.

And that is exactly where opportunities lie for savvy EV investments, particularly for used car dealerships.

close up of hand holding a charger and charging an electric vehicle

Where are the opportunities? Used or new EVs and hybrid cars? 

As we’ve already discussed in our earlier article about electric vehicle trends and EV remarketing, hybrid and electric vehicles are here to stay.

Despite the recent German benefit cuts, the EU will continue to implement its green policies to ensure the sustainability of transportation, which will benefit EV owners.

Additionally, Canalys predicts that carmakers will increasingly start pivoting toward providing models that cater to regional consumer preferences, not unlike Ford's efforts in China not so long ago, which could help boost sales. 

Next, Nasdaq reports that new and upcoming battery technologies, such as Toyota’s solid-state batteries with a staggering 745- and 932-mile range, are slated to continue to boost the affordability of EVs, and alleviate other concerns regarding the batteries.

Things To Know About Toyota's 745-mile Solid-state Battery

Furthermore, according to Fleet Europe, France has announced an investment of €5 billion into improving the EV charging infrastructure, and other countries, like Denmark, are about to follow suit. 

Data: Fleet Europe

This means that the solutions for all the challenges we’ve listed will be found in the market, which is going to consolidate and continue to grow, which is an opportunity for used car dealers to stay ahead of the curve.

Used cars will always be a preferable choice for environment-conscious buyers. 

Once demand picks up again more firmly, used car dealerships that have already built a reputation by remarketing electric and hybrid vehicles will be at an advantage.

They will have an easier time attracting buyers and maintaining their spot in the market.

2023 electric car registrations vs forecasts for the next years

Now that you’re more familiar with the hybrid and electric car trends in Europe, let’s take a look at the most popular vehicles of this type. 

Tesla’s Model Y was number one on the bestseller chart in 2023, followed closely by its older brother Tesla Model 3

Data: Autocar

Volkswagen and Dacia also had successful EV models with Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, and Dacia Spring, respectively.

Similarly, the Kia Ceed SW 1.6 GDi PHEV, the Renault Captur 1.6 E-Tech, and the Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDi PHEV, as well as the classic Toyota Prius VVTi HSD PHEV proved their popularity among the hybrids.

All of these are likely to be popular among the buyers of used cars as well.

If you’d like more insight into which of these might be the best investment for you as an EV remarketer, our article about the 7 best used hybrid cars for traders provides a detailed analysis.

Various types of hybrids are expected to remain popular among eco-conscious consumers who prioritize sustainable transportation, so it’s important to stay informed about the best ways to serve your fleet by including them. 

We also have a guide for dealers who want to boost their profits with used hybrid cars.

Invest in ex-lease or ex-rental EVs and hybrids at eCarsTrade

Hybrid and electric cars are desirable commodities for an ever-expanding number of consumers, especially environmentally-minded ones, even when the market is unstable. 

And what better way to capitalize on this positive electric cars trend and offer consumers affordable electric and hybrid cars, with proven reliability? 

Take a look at our selection of used ex-rental hybrid and electric vehicles for sale.