Cost of living is forcing motorists to exchange their car or switch to pay-monthly schemes

January 11, 2023 by

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  • Four in ten (40%) say cost of living is impacting if and how they retain their car
  • Of those, 23% say they can only afford used vehicles; 36% may need to switch to a pay-monthly scheme
  • 67% feel owning and running their car is a necessary cost; with one eighth prepared to cut day to day spending to keep their vehicle

New research conducted by carwow reveals that, while motorists see cars as ‘essential’, the cost-of-living crisis is forcing them to consider changing to an alternative car or cut day-to-day spending just to stay on the road.

Overall, 40% say their approach to motoring has been affected by the cost-of-living crisis; of those, over a third (36%) say they are more likely to consider paying monthly for their next car rather than buying outright.

Furthermore, 27% are considering selling or exchanging their current car to save money, and 24% admit that, while they would normally consider buying a new car, they can currently only afford to buy used.

carwow’s research reveals that cars are seen as essential, with over two-thirds (67%) stating that owning and running a car is a necessary cost. Of those who say the cost-of-living crisis has had an impact, 13% are already cutting back on day-to-day spending so they can afford to run their vehicle.

Commenting on the findings, carwow’s Consumer Editor, Hugo Griffiths, said: “The cost of living remains stubbornly high for millions, and how we buy and run our cars is not immune from the impact of the current crisis. The jump in petrol prices may be just one factor weighing on motorists, but the scale of the increase in a litre of petrol or diesel gives a good indication of what drivers are dealing with.”

Sellers driven by cutting costs

carwow has also found that 22% of motorists listing their cars for sale via its platform were doing so specifically to cut costs. Of these, over half (55%) are looking to downgrade to a cheaper model, while 45% are not planning to replace the vehicle.

Top reasons why motorists are selling their car via carwow:

  1. ‘To upgrade to a bigger / better vehicle’ 38%
  2. ‘It is an additional car and I no longer need it’ 15%
  3. ‘To switch to an electric car’ 11%
  4. ‘To cut costs – I will replace it with a cheaper car’ 12%
  5. ‘To cut costs – I will not replace it’ 10%
  6. ‘Other’ 10%
  7. ‘It is my only car and I no longer need it’ 10%


About carwow
carwow’s mission is to put everyone in the know when it comes to cars. It operates a fair and transparent marketplace that connects more than nine million UK users with trusted dealers and brands to buy or sell their vehicles.

Established in 2011, carwow is the number one marketplace for new cars in the UK, Germany, and Spain. In 2021, it launched its ‘Sell My Car’ service, meaning dealers can also buy stock directly from carwow users – allowing consumers to sell their current car and buy their next vehicle all on the same platform. From 2021 to 2022, carwow saw a 97% increase in the number of dealers using its site and almost five million bids received from dealers on used car listings.

Headquartered in London, carwow employs over 320 people in the UK, Portugal, Germany, and Spain with the backing of some of the most prestigious technology, marketplace, and automotive investors.

Having started life as a reviews aggregator, carwow has also become one of the most influential names in consumer car media, with the biggest automotive channel on YouTube (over seven million subscribers, fronted by Mat Watson.

Dedicated to helping the auto industry embrace online, carwow offers a suite of data-driven tools and services, including lead generation, stock sourcing, brand building, e-commerce training, marketing, and advertising.

For more information visit or call 0333 150 0777. For the latest reviews and videos, subscribe to the carwow channel on, follow carwow on LinkedIn at and on Twitter at