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An extension of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) programme in Scotland is predicted to lead to a spike in both new and used car sales activity.

Online car marketplace Carwow saw a 43% increase year-on-year in users car listings from consumers in the Glasgow area in the six months following the introduction of the LEZ across the city in June 2023. Now with similar LEZs set to go live in Aberdeen, Dundee and the Scottish capital of Edinburgh on 1st June, a similar surge is expected.

According to Carwow its data indicates that owners are trying to replace cars that don’t comply with the LEZ requirements, though its research suggests that many customers are unclear as to what these rules are.

Of Scottish motorists consulted 30% said they are not sure they understand the new LEZ rules. Almost half (45%) don’t know where the current zones are operating, and 24% are unclear as to whether their own vehicle is LEZ compliant or not.

The introduction of the first ULEZ expansion in London in 2019 resulted in a substantial increase in searches for alternatively fuelled vehicles, with searches for electric cars in London rising by 23% and plug-in searches increasing by 21% between March and May 2019 – the months just before and after the first expansion.

All of which could provide opportunities for Scottish retailers, according to Carwow’s Sally Foote. “We’re seeing that non-compliant cars are still selling successfully in our trade auctions, as retailers in regions that are not affected by these zones are well aware that there is still high demand for these vehicles from drivers seeking affordable and fuel-efficient used cars,” Foote said.

“For those retailers based in areas with zones in place, or impending ones, our data shows that the majority of car sellers are now looking to replace their vehicle, and potentially make the switch to an alternatively fuelled car. We expect to see a corresponding bump in sales of compliant cars or low-and no-emission models.”

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