The Scrap Car Report 2023/24 – UK Vehicle and Driving Statistics

Welcome to the first edition of Scrap Car Comparison’s Scrap Car Report, where we’ll be taking a deep dive into the scrap and salvage landscape in the UK, as well as the data behind various elements of life behind the wheel, from the cost of running a car around the world, to common driving offences and crash causes.

To create this report, we’ve used data from freedom of information (FOI) requests to local councils and the DVLA, Numbeo, Google, the Department for Transport and our own internal data and insights. As a comparison site for car scrappage and salvage, we’re aware that we can’t provide a picture of the whole market alone, so utilising these multiple data sources has allowed us to develop a more factual insight into road use in the UK and beyond.

In addition to this data from the sources used, we’ll also be offering our own expert opinion on what all this means for you and your vehicle.

What the report covers:

  1. Why do people scrap their vehicles?
  2. The average financial return on scrapping a car
  3. How have ULEZ/LEZ schemes affected car scrap enquiries?
  4. The cheapest and most expensive places to own a car worldwide
  5. The car makes and models that depreciate the quickest over time
  6. What cars get scrapped the most?
  7. How many cars are SORN each year in the UK?
  8. Which cities see the most reports of abandoned cars?
  9. Which salvaged cars are most in demand?
  10. Which car parts are most in demand?
  11. The most common causes of car crashes in the UK
  12. The time of year road crashes are most likely to happen
  13. The most frequently committed driving offences

Why Do People Scrap Their Vehicles?

When looking to part ways with a vehicle, most owners will look to try and sell their vehicle, whether privately, to a dealership or to a car-buying service provider. However, there are some instances in which sending a vehicle to scrap or for salvage may be a more suitable option.

The main reason for sending a car to scrap is if it’s not suitable to sell, such as it needing repairs that are higher than the sale value of the car. In this case, scrapping a car can still provide you with a good price for the vehicle, as the weight and parts of the model will still carry value, even if the vehicle itself isn’t fully functional.

According to our experts, some of the most common problems that could lead to a car being scrapped are:

  • Engine issues
  • Gearbox issues
  • Excessive rust
  • Mould or water damage
  • Serious electrical issues
  • Collision damage
Man standing next to his broken down car at the side of the road

One of the other most common reasons for scrapping a vehicle is due to it being damaged and written off in a crash or other collision. Though this can often be due to being involved in a crash, floods and water damage are other examples of how your car could end up in a written-off state.

In some cases, scrapping a car may be the best way to move a car on, even if it is in a working state. Anyone who has tried to sell a car knows that it can be a frustrating and lengthy process, full of cleaning, taking time to advertise it and haggling with potential buyers. Scrapping or salvaging a car is a much more straightforward process, and one that can be done quite quickly, so may be more suitable for those who have time limits on how long they can spend trying to sell their vehicle, or simply want a process that’s more convenient.

More recently, fuel efficiency and compliance with Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) schemes have become another reason that people are more frequently giving their cars over to the scrap heap. For example, the Mayor of London’s £160m scrappage scheme incentivises eligible London residents to scrap their non-ULEZ compliant vehicles in return for grants that will help them to use cleaner modes of transport. Those who take part in the scheme could receive up to £2,000 for scrapping a car, £1,000 for scrapping a motorcycle, or from £6,000-£11,500 for scrapping a van or minibus in the case of small businesses and sole traders.

To find out more about how to know when to scrap your car, take a look at our blog post on the topic, which includes many other reasons why scrap may be the best solution for you.

The Average Financial Return on Scrapping a Car

  • Land Rovers offer the highest financial return when scrapping a car, at 29% more than the average return on a scrapped car
  • The car brand with the lowest scrap value is Suzuki, with an average 30% lower return versus the average financial return on scrapping a car in the UK
  • However, the lowest value car models are the Fiat Punto, Nissan Micra and Renault Clio
  • The highest value scrap cars are the Mercedes C-Class, Ford Transit and Vauxhall Insignia

If you’re looking to scrap your vehicle, getting a quote is as easy as filling in a form and clicking a button. But have you ever wondered which cars provide the best value when scrapped, or how this value is calculated?

When scrapping a car, any respectable scrap yard will buy a car based on its weight, and offer a price directly correlated to the value of the scrap materials. As a result, lighter cars will inevitably be offered less money than heavier cars, regardless of age. Similarly, as the value is based on weight alone, the condition of the vehicle will have no influence on the price offered either.

The Most and Least Valuable Brands for Scrap

Looking at brands, Land Rover is the most valuable brand for scrap overall, with the average price quoted for these vehicles sitting at 28.8% higher than the average. As mentioned, the quoted price is directly linked to the weight of the vehicle, and with all Land Rover vehicles being large SUVs and 4×4 vehicles, they’re definitely one of the weightier brands when all models in their range are considered. Chrysler follows closely in second place, with quotes for vehicles of the brand sat at 26.6% above the UK average, with BMW following in third at 16.7%.

Green coloured older Land Rover vehicle parked in a car park

The car brands with the highest scrap value vs the average:

RankMakesVariance in Quoted Price vs Average
1Land Rover28.80%
2Chrysler26.60%
3BMW16.70%
4Mercedes-Benz15.90%
5Jaguar15.10%
6Saab13.60%
7Kia13.40%
8Volvo12.70%
9Audi6.30%
10Mazda2.60%

At the other end of the spectrum, Suzuki is the brand with the lowest scrap value vs the average across their range of cars, at 30.2% lower. Fiat follows in second at 23.2% lower than average, with Chevrolet rounding off the top three at 17%. Suzuki and Fiat are brands that are both well-known for their small hatchback models in the form of the Suzuki Swift, Suzuki Alto, Fiat 500, Fiat Punto and Fiat Panda, which make up the most scrapped models for each brand according to our internal data. As a result, the average quoted price will be lower than the average, due to the lightweight nature of this vehicle style.

The car brands with the lowest scrap value vs the average:

RankMakesVariance vs Average
1Suzuki-30.20%
2Fiat-23.20%
3Chevrolet-17.00%
4Mini-12.20%
5Nissan-11.30%
6Renault-6.90%
7Rover-6.70%
8Peugeot-5.70%
9Citroen-5.60%
10Seat-4.00%

The Most and Least Valuable Models for Scrap

Looking at car models specifically, we can reveal that the Fiat Punto is the least valuable car for scrap on average, with prices quoted at 41.6% lower than the average. The Nissan Micra (-40.9%) and Renault Clio (-29.8%) join the Punto in the top three, with the smaller body size clearly translating into lower quotes offered when it comes to scrap.

The car models with the lowest scrap value vs the average:

RankModelsVariance vs Average
1Fiat Punto-41.60%
2Nissan Micra-40.90%
3Renault Clio-29.80%
4Peugeot 206-29.80%
5Toyota Yaris-29.20%
6Ford Fiesta-27.90%
7Volkswagen Polo-25.80%
8Vauxhall Corsa-22.90%
9Mini Hatch (Cooper/One)-12.20%
10Xsara-8.20%

The Mercedes C-Class tops the list for the car models with the highest scrap value, with the executive car coming in at an average 16.3% higher price quoted than average. The Ford Transit follows in second at 15.4%, with the Vauxhall Insignia in third at 14.9%.

The car models with the highest scrap value vs the average:

RankModelsVariance vs Average
1Mercedes C-Class16.30%
2Ford Transit15.40%
3Vauxhall Insignia14.90%
4BMW 3 Series14.30%
5Volkswagen Passat10.50%
6Vauxhall Zafira9.90%
7Ford Mondeo9.70%
8Vauxhall Vectra8.10%
9Renault Scenic7.00%
10Citroen C46.40%

Source: Internal Scrap Car Comparison data

How Have ULEZ/LEZ Schemes Affected Car Scrap Enquiries?

  • ULEZ/LEZ schemes have led to a 53% increase in scrap demand within London and a 78% increase in demand in the ULEZ areas surrounding London

As we’ve already mentioned, the Mayor of London introduced a scrappage scheme earlier this year, to incentivise scrapping non-ULEZ compliant vehicles, by providing grants for any owners who give up their vehicle under the scheme to then purchase or use more eco-friendly forms of transport, such as electric cars.

This scheme came into play as a result of the expansion of ULEZ zones to cover all London boroughs, however, ULEZ schemes have also rolled out across many other cities during the past 12 months. Glasgow City Council introduced their own LEZ scheme this year, with penalties for non-compliant vehicles set at £60 (or £30 if paid early), while Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Tyneside also have their own Clear Air Zone (CAZ) schemes.

Aerial view of central London including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Due to these schemes, driving less efficient vehicles within cities has become much more expensive for many residents and commuters, who may be looking to switch to more efficient or alternative options.

In London alone, our data shows that demand for car scrappage quotes between May and July 2023 increased by 53% in London and 78% in the areas surrounding London when compared to the same period in 2022. The areas classified as ‘surrounding London’ in this dataset are those outside of central London (e.g. E, EC, N, NW, SE, SW, W, WC postcodes), which were included in the ULEZ expansion on 29th August 2023, highlighting the stark increase in those re-considering their transport options in the run-up to the rollout of the scheme.

AreaLondonAreas surrounding London (ULEZ expansion areas)Rest of the UK
Quote demand increase (May-July 2023 vs 2022)52.7%77.8%45.8%

The same trend can be seen in the traffic to the site, with visitors up 106% in the London area, compared to a lower 67% in the rest of the country – a difference of 58% overall. This difference is only highlighted further when compared to statistics from 2021, with London traffic growth at 238% over this timeframe, versus just 61% for other areas.

AreaLondonNon-London
Traffic increase (May-July 2023 vs 2022)105.8%67.1%

Source: Internal Scrap Car Comparison data

The Cheapest and Most Expensive Places to Own a Car Worldwide

  • The United States of America ranks as the cheapest place to own a car in the world
  • The United Kingdom ranks as the 8th cheapest place to own a car worldwide
  • Turkey is the most expensive country to own a car in the world
A row if Mercedes Benz cars parked outside of a dealership

Owning a vehicle will feel like an essential for many people around the world and provides the freedom to travel to work, school, to visit family and friends, or take a road trip to experience somewhere new. Properly maintaining a car comes at a cost though – with expenses going far beyond the original purchase price. Outside of the addition of the emissions fees mentioned above, insurance, fuel and repairs costs are at an all-time high, so where in the world is it easiest to keep up with the cost of car ownership?

To find out, we’ve analysed 98 countries on a range of car ownership cost factors including the average cost of a car itself (using the same popular models across all countries to gain a fair average) the cost of fuel, insurance and breakdown cover, as well as average repair costs. We’ve then compared these total car costs against average yearly salaries in each country to reveal an affordability percentage, which was used to create the rankings.

The main thing to keep in mind with these percentages is that while we have factored in the cost of actually buying a car outright, this of course isn’t a yearly expense, as its extremely rare for anyone to purchase a new car in full every single year.

This means that the percentage of yearly salary required to own and run a car used in our calculations is higher than it realistically would be each year, however, we’ve analysed it in this way as this should still give a fair gauge of how different car ownership costs vary around the world. It’s essential to factor in the actual cost of a car itself too, as these purchases prices vary so wildly around the world.

The Most Affordable Countries to Own a Car

Our research reveals that the most affordable country in the world to own a car, is the United States of America, where the cost of buying and owning a car requiring just under half (46%) of the average American yearly salary – the lowest affordability percentage of all countries analysed. With much of American infrastructure built with car use in mind, not to mention the vast nature of the country, it’s good to know that car ownership has a lower cost barrier to entry for its residents.

Suburban road in America with cars parked outside of residential buildings

Australia followed in second place, with the cost of owning and running a car being equivalent to 57% of the average salary down under. Canada (64%) follows in the third spot while Netherlands and Germany round off the top five, with the cost of running a car equalling almost two-thirds (74%) of the average annual salary in both countries. Despite being renowned for its high cost of living, the United Kingdom also ranked in the top ten, placing in eighth spot, with it costing on average 87% of an annual average salary to actually purchase and run a vehicle.

RankCountry% of average yearly salary required to buy and run a car
1United States46%
2Australia57%
3Canada64%
4Netherlands74%
5Germany74%
6Sweden79%
7Norway86%
8United Kingdom87%
9Finland92%
10Ireland94%

The Most Expensive Countries to Own a Car

In addition to looking at the most affordable countries to own a car in, we also wanted to look at the other end of the scale and find out where it is hardest to keep up with the costs of running a car. This of course depends largely on household income, so it was no surprise to see that countries where average salaries are lower emerged as being less affordable than the likes of the US or UK – despite the purchase price of new cars often being comparatively cheaper.

Salary of course plays a huge part in how affordable anything is going to be, so it was no surprise to see that countries where average salaries are lower, being much more expensive to own a car, even when new car prices are comparatively cheap to the likes of the UK and USA.

Turkey, ranked as the most expensive place to own a car within our research and requires almost seven times the average Turkish annual salary to buy and run a car. Our results also show it is also particularly hard to own and run a car in South America, with it requiring four to five times the national salary in Colombia, Brazil and Argentina to comfortably pay all car ownership costs within a year.

RankCountry% of average yearly salary required to buy and run a car
1Turkey697%
2Colombia493%
3Brazil491%
4Argentina459%
5Ecuador394%
6Costa Rica318%
7Uruguay301%
8Romania254%
9Mexico248%
10Hungary248%

Source: Using numbeo.com and autocosts.info, we looked at 98 different countries where average cost data is readily available. The car prices used are averaged from two popular models worldwide: the VW Golf and Toyota Corolla. This was then added to average fuel, insurance and repair costs before being weighed against average regional yearly salaries, to calculate the final rankings. The results reveal the percentage of each country’s average yearly salary (per person) required to purchase and run a new car. All data correct as of November 2023.

The Car Makes and Models That Depreciate the Quickest Over Time

When buying a new car, it’s always worth thinking about the potential resale value and how much it will depreciate over time. Some cars can prove to be very worthy investments, with their value increasing over time, while others may drop quickly in value as soon as they leave the forecourt.

Elements such as age, condition, mileage and number of owners are all influencing factors, and there are many things that you can do to minimise the effects of depreciation, but choosing a vehicle that holds its value well is always a good place to start.

Which Car Models Depreciate the Quickest?

With this in mind, we’ve looked at some of the UK’s top-selling vehicles and calculated their average depreciation over the average ownership period for a car in the UK (four –years) to try and help give an idea of how different car’s values can decline quicker than others.

The Renault Zoe tops the tables as the car with the highest average four-year depreciation rate, with the £31,195 average selling price dropping down to just £10,238 after four years, with 67% of the vehicle’s value lost as a result. The Peugeot 2008 follows in second with an average depreciation rate of 66%, with the Audi A3 rounding off the top three at 65%.

RankCar ModelBase PriceAverage value after 4 yearsValue lost (after 4 years)Average 4-year depreciation rate (%)
1Renault Zoe£31,195£10,238£20,95767.20%
2Peugeot 2008£23,005£7,768£15,23766.20%
3Audi A3£26,660£9,254£17,40665.30%
4Land Rover Defender£55,265£19,701£35,56464.30%
5BMW 7 Series£102,990£41,462£61,52859.70%
6Audi A8£76,225£31,379£44,84658.80%
7Peugeot 5008£35,585£15,290£20,29557%
8Nissan Leaf£28,495£12,499£15,99656.10%
9Peugeot 3008£31,620£13,870£17,75056.10%
10Peugeot 508£32,960£14,751£18,20955.30%
11Mercedes E-Class£54,185£24,730£29,45554.40%
12Kia Sportage£27,950£13,003£14,94753.50%
13Audi A6£42,605£20,196£22,40952.60%
14Hyundai i30£22,700£10,760£11,94052.60%
15Ford S-Max£38,565£18,618£19,94751.70%
16Kia Sorento£43,205£20,858£22,34751.70%
17Vauxhall Astra£25,795£12,453£13,34251.70%
18BMW X5£66,230£33,127£33,10350%
19Vauxhall Mokka£23,495£11,752£11,74350%
20Audi Q5£45,425£23,113£22,31249.10%
The front of a Peugeot car with brand logo showing

Which Car Models Depreciate the Slowest?

For those looking for a vehicle that holds its value, the Volvo V90 fits the bill, as the car that depreciates the slowest according to our data. With only 7.9% of the vehicle’s value lost after four years, this model is definitely a sounder investment than others. The Volvo XC60 follows closely in second place, losing just 11.5% of its value in four years.

The Mercedes Benz A-Class (14.4%), Jeep Wrangler (17.5%) and Volkswagen Polo (18.3%) complete the top five, with any one of them likely to hold their value well over the first few years of ownership.

RankCar ModelBase model priceAverage value after 4 yearsValue lost (after 4 years)Average 4 year depreciation rate (%)
1Volvo V90£48,825£44,955£3,8707.9%
2Volvo XC60£45,675£40,425£5,25011.5%
3Mercedes Benz A-Class£30,800£26,351£4,44914.4%
4Jeep Wrangler£57,810£47,692£10,11817.5%
5Volkswagen Polo£19,640£16,051£3,58918.3%
6Land Rover Range Rover£102,100£82,658£19,44219%
7Volkswagen Golf£25,615£20,737£4,87819%
8Mercedes Benz C-Class£44,060£35,330£8,73019.8%
9Porsche 718£51,800£41,536£10,26419.8%
10Toyota C-HR£29,920£23,760£6,16020.6%

Which Car Brands Depreciate the Quickest?

With four of its models ranking in the top 20 cars with the greatest depreciation, Peugeot also tops the charts for the brands that depreciate the quickest overall. As a whole, models sold by the brand lose an average of 53% in value over four years, which is well worth keeping in mind if you’re thinking of buying one of the vehicles. British brand Vauxhall ranks second (49%) and Renault, another French manufacturer ranks third (49%).

While this should by no means put you off purchasing any of these cars or brands, it is worth considering if your eventual return on the car is an important factor in your buying journey, alongside looks, practicality and performance.

RankBrandAvg. depreciation rate %
1Peugeot52.55%
2Vauxhall49.40%
3Renault48.75%
4Nissan47.47%
5BMW44.69%
6Audi44.38%
7Mini44.00%
8Kia43.67%
9Skoda42.87%
10Jaguar42.35%

Which Car Brands Depreciate the Slowest?

Though there may be two Volvo models topping the charts for holding their value, when it comes to brands overall, Jeep pips the brand to the post. With just 17.5% value lost across the models in the brand over the first 4 years of ownership, Jeep’s average depreciation rate sits at just over 11% lower than that of Volvo.

Dacia (29.6%) follows in third place, Subaru (30%) in fourth and Volkswagen (32%) in fifth.

RankBrandAvg. depreciation rate %
1Jeep17.50%
2Volvo28.82%
3Dacia29.60%
4Subaru30.00%
5Volkswagen32.02%
6Toyota32.56%
7Porsche32.68%
8Honda33.10%
9Citroen34.43%
10Mazda35.13%

Source: Base model price compiled via each car brand’s website in November 2023. This was then analysed using themoneycalculator’s depreciation tool, over a 4-year ownership period with 10,000 miles driven per year.

What Cars Get Scrapped the Most?

  • The most scrapped car in the UK is the Ford Focus
  • Ford is the most scrapped car brand in the UK, followed by Vauxhall and Volkswagen

As with previous years, we’ve again been keeping track of the UK’s most scrapped vehicles throughout 2023 and can now reveal which makes and models have been sent to the scrap heap the most.

Close up of a Ford badge on the front grill of a Ford vehicle

The top 10 most scrapped car models in 2023:

RankCar Model% of Vehicles Scrapped
1Ford Focus4.6%
2Vauxhall Corsa4.3%
3Vauxhall Astra4.2%
4Ford Fiesta3.9%
5Volkswagen Golf3.1%
6Ford Transit2.2%
7BMW 3 Series2.2%
8Mini Hatch (Cooper/One)2.1%
9Vauxhall Zafira1.9%
10Renault Clio1.8%

In keeping with recent years, the most scrapped car model of 2023 is again revealed as the Ford Focus, which makes up 4.6% of all vehicles scrapped this year. The rest of the top five vehicles also remain unchanged, with many of these popular motors now reaching the end of their lives after many years on the road.

Though they were new entries to the top 10 list last year, the Ford Transit, BMW 3 Series and Mini Hatch (Cooper/One) have all remained in the top flight again this year. With the Mini Hatch series of cars first launched in 2000 following the takeover of the brand by the BMW family, with the second and third generations launched in 2006 and 2014 respectively, many of these vehicles may now be coming to the end of their roadworthiness – so perhaps we may be seeing many more Minis on scrap heaps in the coming years.

The top 10 most scrapped car manufacturers:

RankCar Make% of Vehicles Scrapped
1Ford15.3%
2Vauxhall14.8%
3Volkswagen8.1%
4Peugeot6.2%
5BMW5.1%
6Renault4.8%
7Citroen4.4%
8Audi3.9%
9Mercedes-Benz3.7%
10Nissan3.5%

Source: Internal Scrap Car Comparison data

Again, the most scrapped car brands overall have remained relatively unchanged in recent years, with Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen consistently at the top of the tables. However, BMW, which featured in the top 10 for the first-time last year, are evidently being scrapped more often, having claimed the fifth position this year, coming in ahead of Renault.

Audi and Mercedes, which also featured for the first time last year have maintained their spots in the top 10, but have been joined by Nissan, with the brand the only new entrant to the top 10 this year. As a result, Toyota has dropped out of the top rankings, continuing its fall over recent years as less Toyotas are meeting the scrap heap.

How Many Cars Are SORN Each Year in the UK?

  • More than two million cars are SORN each year in the UK
  • 52% more cars were SORN during 2023 than they were in 2022

A SORN, or Statutory Off Road Notification is a legal notification you can make to the DVLA when you want to formally declare a car as being off the road. The main benefit of lodging a SORN is that you’ll no longer be required to pay any tax on the vehicle, as it is then registered as being not in use – though this does mean that the vehicle must be kept on private land and will also not be liable for insurance.

SORNs are most commonly used when a vehicle is off the road awaiting repairs, though there are many other reasons and circumstances when a SORN can be used, which you can find out more about (as well as details on how to apply for a SORN) in our ‘how to SORN your car’ blog post.

We wanted to take a closer look at the number of vehicles in the UK that are currently under SORNs, so using an FOI request to the DVLA, we’ve done just that.

Looking at data from January to September, we can see that a total of 2,009,444 cars were put under SORN notifications during this period in 2023 – which is a sizeable increase of 52% compared to the same timeframe in 2022. With inflation causing the cost of car repairs to rise, it may well be that more motorists are choosing to SORN their vehicles and delay repairs until they become more affordable, or that motorists are choosing to temporarily stop driving as part of managing their outgoings.

January was the biggest month for SORNs within this period, with just under quarter of a million cars registered as being off the road in the first month of the year. However, July is the month with the biggest year-on-year change, with 29% more cars put under SORN notices in July 2023 versus 2022. However, May and June were also big months for SORNs in comparison to last year, with a 13% and 12% increase for each month respectively.

On the other hand, April saw a 7% decrease in the number of vehicles SORNed versus 2022, with 184,957 cars taken off the road in this month.

Number of SORN vehicles by month from January to September in 2022 and 2023:

YearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSept
2022231,394209,450221,866198,268208,072188,014167,838238,613250,660
2023247,987206,050228,158184,957235,775211,259216,446234,231244,581
% change7.17%-1.62%2.84%-6.71%13.31%12.36%28.96%-1.84%-2.43%

Source: Freedom of Information request

Which Cities See the Most Reports of Abandoned Cars? 

Lots of car owners in the UK require their vehicles most days of the week to complete daily errands and travel longer distances for work or holidays. However, there are many circumstances which mean that cars will go unused for an extended period of time. In these situations, motorists should notify the DVLA that their car is not on the roads via a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) in order to avoid paying tax or insurance, as we discussed above. Alternatively, if the vehicle is unlikely to ever return to the roads, drivers should sell the car to a dealer or scrap yard; however, more and more UK motorists are illegally abandoning their vehicles, leaving hundreds of abandoned cars sat on the side of roads and in car parks up and down the country.

Abandoning a vehicle is in breach of Section 2 of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 (RD(A)A 1978), which is an illegal offence that can carry fines of up to £2,500 – and three-months’ imprisonment if caught. According to the DVLA, a car can be classified as abandoned if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • It has no keeper on DVLA’s database and is untaxed
  • It’s stationary for a significant amount of time
  • It’s significantly damaged, run down or unroadworthy, for example has flat tyres, missing wheels or broken windows
  • It’s burned out
  • A number plate is missing

With this in mind, we wanted to discover the cities and towns in the UK which were home to the highest number of abandoned cars in 2023. To do this, we made Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to city councils across the country, to reveal which areas have had the most reported abandoned vehicles in the last year.

The Locations With the Most Reported Abandoned Cars 

Having analysed abandoned car reports in London separately due to the capitals sheer scale and multiple boroughs, Coventry emerged as the city in the UK with the most abandoned vehicles, with a reported 1,898 cars being abandoned in the Midlands-based city in the last year. Brighton and Hove follows closely, with 1,889 reports of abandoned cars, while another Midlands city, Leicester, rounds off the top three with 1,765 reports. Northern cities Manchester and Sunderland complete the top five, each reporting over 1,400 abandoned vehicles on their respective roads over the 12-month period. Scottish cities Edinburgh and Glasgow also made the top ten with over a thousand abandoned vehicles being reported to their councils in the last year.

RankCouncil AreaTotal no. of reports (Sept ’22 – Sept ’23)
1Coventry1,898
2Brighton and Hove1,889
3Leicester1,765
4Manchester1,664
5Sunderland1,477
6Plymouth1,451
7Southampton1,389
8Edinburgh1,087
9Glasgow1,043
10Portsmouth1,037

The Locations With the Least Reported Abandoned Cars 

When looking at the cities with the least reported abandoned vehicles, it was Cambridge that topped the list, with only 24 abandoned vehicles being reported in the Cambridge region in the last year. Following Cambridge to make up the top three was York (31 reports) and Newport (47 reports), while Lancashire based councils West Lancs (50 reports) and South Ribble Borough (91 reports) placed in fourth and fifth positions, respectively, with a minimal number of abandoned cars reported in the North-Western region. Other Lancashire based council areas including Ribble Valley Borough, Hyndburn Borough and Lancaster all placed in the top ten, each with less than 150 reports of abandoned vehicles over the twelve-month period.

RankCouncil areaTotal no. of reports (Sept ’22 – Sept ’23)
1Cambridge24
2York31
3Newport47
4West Lancs50
5South Ribble Borough91
6Ribble Valley Borough96
7Newcastle-upon-Tyne103
8Hyndburn Borough114
9Lancaster150
10Cardiff165

The London Boroughs With the Most and Least Abandoned Cars

When looking exclusively at London boroughs, it is Bromley that has the most reports of abandoned vehicles, with a whopping 2,239 abandoned cars being reported over the last 12 months, surpassing levels seen within the rest of the country! North London borough Enfield places in second spot with 1,998 reports, while western boroughs Hillingdon, Ealing and Sutton make up the top five, each with over 1,500 abandoned cars.

RankLondon BoroughTotal no. of reports (Sept ’22 – Sept ’23)
1Bromley2,239
2Enfield1,998
3Hillingdon1,914
4Ealing1,629
5Sutton1,570

At the other end of the scale, it was the North-Eastern borough of Islington with the lowest number of abandoned car reports within London in 2023 (just 32 reports over the twelve-month period). Lambeth reported 121 abandoned cars in the area, and Camden followed in third spot with 152 reports.

RankLondon BoroughTotal no. of reports (Sept ’22 – Sept ’23)
1Islington32
2Lambeth121
3Camden152
4Harrow302
5Hammersmith and Fulham346

Source: Freedom of Information requests to 83 councils within the United Kingdom. 67 councils responded with data, meaning that 16 councils have been omitted from our results.

If you come across a vehicle which you believe has been abandoned, you should contact your local council. You can do this using GOV.UK’s Report An Abandoned Vehicle tool. The police should only be called if the vehicle is in a dangerous condition, e.g. leaking petrol.

Which Salvaged Cars Are Most in Demand?

  • Mercedes-Benz is the most in-demand salvaged car brand
  • The Porsche 911 is the most in-demand salvaged car model
  • Other desirable models, such as the Audi R8 and Land Rover Defender are sought after salvaged cars

If you’re looking to sell your vehicle for salvage, it must be repairable; otherwise, it’s destined for the crusher. So, it goes without saying that not all cars are worth repairing, but when they are, the demand is there too.

When selling a car for salvage, it must be declared as category S or N, meaning it may be repaired back into a roadworthy condition. As a result, people can own a desirable model at a fraction of the cost if they are willing to pay for costly repairs or be happy to drive a car that was once in a crash.

The interior of a Mercedes Benz AMG with steering wheel and driver's console

The Most in Demand Salvaged Car Makes

Looking at car brands, Mercedes-Benz is the most in demand brand for salvage overall, with 3,300 UK searches made in the last 12 months alone. With models in its range starting at around £30,000 (the Mercedes-Benz A-Class) and ranging to upwards of £152,000 (for a Mercedes-Benz AMG GT), it’s clear that prospective car buyers are trying to be resourceful when it comes to owning a Merc.

Mini follows closely in second place, with 3,170 annual searches for damaged versions of the vehicles. Other car makers renowned for high price tags, including Porsche, Ferrari, Tesla and Aston Martin, held the remaining eight places within the top ten rankings. 

As buying a salvaged car can cost 20% to 40% less than market value compared to a vehicle with a clean title, salvage is fast becoming a more economical way to purchase a ‘dream car’. Other reasons behind buying salvage versions of these high-end brands include using the vehicle for parts, in cases of a category B or S title, or just getting lucky and finding a car with minimal damage and therefore, repair costs.

RankCar MakeUK Search Volume (October 2022 – September 2023)
1Mercedes-Benz3,300
2Mini3,170
3BMW2,870
4Audi2,060
5Porsche1,830
6Ferrari1,810
7Tesla880
8Aston Martin840
9Land Rover830
10Jaguar770
11Ford760
12Vauxhall740
13MK690
14Volkswagen670
15Volvo640

The Most in Demand Salvaged Car Models

The Porsche 911 is the most in demand car model for salvage cars, with people hoping to buy an iconic, high-performance car for a fraction of the cost of a new vehicle. With the car seeing almost double the number of searches compared to the second most in demand model, certain petrolheads are no doubt hoping for the opportunity to snag a sportscar at a bargain price. A British classic, the Mini Cooper is the second most in demand car, accounting for 3,460 yearly searches, with its sportier version, the Mini Cooper S following close behind in third.

While the search results do highlight that many are searching for the opportunity to own a luxury model at a lower price, with the Audi R8 and Land Rover Defender also featuring, more everyday cars also rank. With the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Focus offering an even more economical choice, or the chance for parts, which will again be in high-demand, due to the large ownership levels of each model.

RankCar ModelUK Search Volume (October 2022 – September 2023)
1Porsche 9117,440
2Mini Cooper3,460
3Mini Cooper S2,790
4Ford Ranger1,850
5Ford Focus1,260
6Audi R81,230
7Ford Fiesta1,170
8Jaguar XF1,070
9Fiat 5001,050
10BMW X51,040
11Land Rover Defender930
12Audi A3900
13BMW 1 Series880
14Audi A1840
15Audi TT780
16Mercedes A Class770
17Toyota Hilux760
18Nissan Leaf740
19Honda Civic680
20Ford Transit660

Source: Google Keyword Planner. We compiled a list of more than 250 different car models, and analysed their UK search volume between October 2022 and September 2023 for salvage related search terms.

Which Car Parts Are Most in Demand?

  • Car batteries are the most in demand car part
  • Catalytic converters, used in electric cars, are the second most in-demand car part

When buying a new car, it’s always worth researching its reliability and maintenance costs. Some car models will require parts to be changed more often than others, especially with a known fault or if you purchase car parts on the budget end of the spectrum.

You may not have to replace any parts at all, especially if you own a newer car. However, some parts depreciate quicker than others or generally have a shorter lifespan depending on your driving style, where you drive, and where your vehicle is stored. Still, it’s helpful to know the most in demand car parts in advance so you can be aware of the potential investment required if you ever need any yourself.

With this in mind, we’ve looked at car parts (and popular accessories) from the likes of the bodywork, interiors, and electricals, and analysed Google search data to find out which have the highest demand from drivers? 

RankCar PartUK Search Volume (October 2022 – September 2023)
1Car battery672,500
2Catalytic converter521,400
3Car tyres412,000
4Fender343,200
5Dashcam281,100
6Car seat cover272,100
7Brake pad250,800
8Spark plug190,800
9Brake fluid169,500
10EGR Valve164,100
11Car cover157,700
12Car charger145,700
13Anti-lock braking system125,800
14Brake disc102,000
15Glow plug97,300
16Carburettor80,900
17Car fuse74,200
18Crankshaft73,200
19Camshaft64,200
20Odometer61,800

Source: Google Keyword Planner. We compiled a list of more than 500 different car parts, and analysed their UK search volume between October 2022 and September 2023

Car batteries were revealed as the most in demand car part. As a car component that will deteriorate over time, it’s no wonder it is the most searched-for in the UK. With a lifespan of around three and five years until it can no longer provide the power required to start the engine, it will ultimately be a significant car part that may be one of the most frequently changed.

Close up of internal car parts inside an engine bay

The catalytic converter ranked as the second most in demand part. With a lifespan of around ten years (depending on driving style) and needing to be checked after 50,000 miles, another reason behind its popularity is its value in scrap. With a potential scrap value ranging from £10 -£400, with certain types exceeding £500+ in value, catalytic converters have been the victim of increased theft over recent years as thieves attempt to make quick money selling for scrap, which could contribute to the high levels of demand.

Car tyres rounded off the top three with 412,000 annual searches. How often they need replacing varies massively depending on how frequently you drive, how you drive, and how many miles you cover. Your front tyres should last for around 20,000 miles before you need to consider replacing them, with rear tyres being able to last slightly longer. As a result, it’s likely to be a highly in demand car part for those who commute by car or get behind the wheel regularly.

As with most car parts, many have to be checked and changed after a certain number of miles to ensure they can continue to perform safely. This applies to many items in the rankings, including spark plugs, brake fluid and car fuses.

Interestingly, accessories such as dashcams and car seat covers also ranked within the top ten as drivers look to invest more in protecting their cars both inside and out.

The Most Common Causes of Car Crashes in the UK 

  • There was a total of 111,120 crashes in 2022
  • This is a 5% increase on the number of crashes in 2021 (105,791)
  • Pre-pandemic crash levels were considerably higher, with 128,384 collisions in 2018 and 123,212 reported in 2019
  • The most common cause of a road collision is a driver/rider error
  • Drivers failing to look properly is the second most common cause of car crashes on UK roads

As we’ve already established, a car crash is one of the most common reasons someone will be led to scrap their car, as it will have either been written off, or the cost of repairing outweighs the value of the car itself.

Never a good situation to be in and one that can lead to incredibly challenging consequences, crashes happen for a whole host of reasons, which can range from one or more drivers being at fault, to unavoidable road conditions.

By analysing data shared by the UK Government, we can see that there were 111,120 crashes recorded in 2022 (the most recent available data at the time of writing). A number that is actually up 5% on the previous year (105,791), however still lower than the comparatively high collisions levels seen in the pre-pandemic years of 2019 (123,212 collisions) and 2018 (128,384). Hopefully collision levels will never reach these highs again, but what can we tell from the key contributory factors of these crashes?

The 20 Most Common Causes of UK Road Collisions

Accounting for 40% of all collisions that took place in 2022 is driver/rider error or a reaction. This includes errors of judgement such as misjudging another vehicle’s speed at a junction, or reacting to a hazard which then causes a crash. Similar to this are other common causes that can be avoided with better concentration behind the wheel, such as failing to look properly accounting for 22% of collisions and careless, reckless or hurried driving resulting in more than ten thousand crashes.

Front damage to a car from a crash

While external factors such as the road environment (7%) or the dazzling sun (2%) also play a part, it’s clear that concentration and proceeding with caution at all times is paramount. Crashes can be fatal, so if you ever feel conditions are unsafe, or you’re not in the right frame of mind to drive, it’s always best to opt against getting behind the wheel, or in the saddle.

If you have ever been involved in a collision or know someone who has, visit Brake to learn how they can help.

RankContributory factor reported in collisionNo. of collisions (2022)% of total collisions
1Driver/Rider error or reaction43,96239.56%
2Driver/Rider failed to look properly24,13721.72%
3Behaviour or inexperience17,61515.85%
4Injudicious action14,76713.28%
5Driver/Rider careless, reckless or in a hurry12,80611.52%
6Driver/Rider failed to judge other person`s path or speed12,38111.14%
7Impairment or distraction12,24611.02%
8Pedestrian only (casualty or uninjured)8,0457.23%
9Road environment contributed7,6356.87%
10Loss of control7,5406.78%
11Poor turn or manoeuvre7,4666.71%
12Vision affected by external factors7,2556.52%
13Exceeding speed limit5,1714.65%
14Pedestrian failed to look properly4,9244.43%
15Driver/Rider impaired by alcohol4,5054.05%
16Slippery road (due to weather)4,2443.81%
17Travelling too fast for conditions3,7633.38%
18Special Codes3,6223.25%
19Following too close2,9612.66%
20Sudden braking2,8842.59%

Source: gov.uk – RAS0701 datasheet

The Time of Year Road Crashes Are Most Likely to Happen

  • An average of 8,833 crashes take place each month
  • More road collisions take place in November than any other month
  • February sees the lowest number of road collisions
  • Crashes are more likely to take place on Fridays
  • Sunday is the day of the week where less collisions take place

So taking into account the most common causes for crashes, it’s also worth looking at when these are most likely to take place.

While there are perhaps unsurprisingly no real correlations to be made, as crashes can happen at any time and anywhere, if a driver isn’t operating their vehicle correctly or an external factor is at play, a few things do stand out from the data we gained from the Department for Transport.

Which Months Do Most Road Collisions Take Place?

Again, looking at the most recent available data from 2022, it shows that on average, 8,833 crashes take place each month, with November being the month these are most likely to take place in – the 9,592 collisions that took place taking it well above the average. As we saw from the most common crash causes, low visibility, slippery roads and other impairments can all play a big role in causing a crash, which in this country are unfortunately much more prevalent in the winter months. Again, making it all the more important to ensure you’re taking even more care during these periods.

RankMonthTotal Number of Collisions (2022)
1November9,592
2June9,349
3October9,334
4May9,177
5July9,167
6January9,027
7August8,939
8March8,823
9September8,776
10December8,209
11April7,933
12February7,678

Which Days Do Most Road Collisions Take Place?

With careless, hurried and distracted driving all ranking as common crash causes, it may also come as no surprise that Friday comes out in the data as the day of the week when most collisions take place (17,911 collisions). The after work, weekend rush and heightened number of cars on the roads no doubt leading to more incidents.

In fact, looking at days of the week versus the months of the year, there is actually a lot more correlation with when collisions tend to happen. It seems that as we get closer to the weekend and there being more movement on the roads, more collisions take place, before dying down again, reaching a significant low on Sunday (12,001) collisions, the traditional day of rest.

RankDayTotal Number of Collisions (2022)
1Friday17,911
2Thursday16,273
3Wednesday15,737
4Tuesday15,018
5Saturday15,009
6Monday14,055
7Sunday12,001

Source: dft.gov.uk

The Most Frequently Committed Driving Offences

  • Speeding is the most frequently committed driving offence in the UK
  • 133,711 drivers committed speeding offenses on UK public roads and motorways within the past year (September 2022 – September 2023)
  • Outside of speeding related offences, driving without third party insurance, failing to comply with traffic light signals and using a mobile phone at the wheel are other common driving offences

Following the rules of the road is not only important when it comes to keeping yourself and your vehicle safe, but also to keep other road users around you safe too. However, even a momentary lapse in concentration can result in these rules and laws being broken unintentionally, putting drivers at risk of falling foul of the law.

Using a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA, we’ve been able to crunch the data to reveal how many drivers received points for different offences between September 2022 and September 2023, showing which rules we’re breaking the most.

Blue flashing lights on top of a police car

The top 10 offences that incurred drivers points in 2022-2023:

RankEndorsementOffencePoints for offenceNumber of drivers (September 2022-23)
1SP30Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road3 to 6102,358
2SP50Exceeding speed limit on a motorway3 to 631,353
3IN10Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks6 to 810,377
4CU80Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone3 to 66,666
5MS90Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc65,734
6TS10Failing to comply with traffic light signals34,107
7SP10Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits3 to 62,935
8LC20Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence3 to 62,293
9CD30Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users3 to 91,853
10CD10Driving without due care and attention3 to 91,821

Source: Freedom of Information request to the DVLA

As shown by the data, speeding offences are the most common way that drivers are getting points added to their licence in the UK. With 102,358 drivers falling foul of the SP30 offence for exceeding the statutory speed limit on a public road, it goes to show that going even a few miles per hour over the limit could be costly. With exceeding the speed limit on a motorway (SP50) following as the second highest offence, more than three-quarters (77%) of drivers who’ve received points this year have done so as a result of breaking speed rules.

A lack of third-party car insurance (IN10) follows as the third most common offence for landing drivers points over the last year, with 10,377 drivers failing to appropriately insure their vehicles.

Feeling Informed?

After all of that insight, we’re at the end of our first Scrap Car Report – covering abandoned cars, SORNs, the most in demand cars for scrap and salvage and the parts of the world where owning a car can be very costly (and very cheap!), we hope you’ve found it interesting, and maybe even learned something new.

Cars continue to be one of the most popular methods of transport in the UK, and with millions of cars both joining and leaving our roads each year, we’ll continue to pay attention to the trends in car ownership in the years to come.

If you’re a car owner yourself, maintaining your car and driving safely are both key to keeping your car on the road and making the most of its working life, so why not check out one of our car care guides to help you prepare for your next MOT, or to help with everyday maintenance? Similarly, if you feel that it may be approaching your car’s last journey, we’re here to help with any scrap or salvage questions you may have – just get in touch!

About the Data in This Report

The data in this report compiles data from a variety of sources that include Google, Numbeo, the DVLA, local councils and our own internal car scrap and salvage data. Beneath each data insight, a source detailing how the data was gained/analysed can be found, however if you have any questions on any of our findings, please contact: [email protected]

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