UK drivers could be sitting on a staggering £11.2 billion tied up in unused cars, a new study estimates.
That’s the equivalent of a festive turkey feast for almost 439 million households or 17 million fully funded Christmases.
There are now over three million cars with a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) declaration in the UK with a potential average value of around £3,264 – enough to fund five Christmases. The research by Carwow has revealed the untapped resale potential of SORN-registered vehicles nationwide.
SORN’d cars range from worn-out rust buckets in need of repair to high-worth classics tucked away to preserve their value. But even if every registered SORN car was only worthy of being scrapped, with an average scrap value of £275, they would still rake in a substantial £945 million – that’s 37 million Christmas turkeys!
Latest figures from the DVLA show that just over a tenth of the UK’s licensed cars currently have a SORN declaration, a whopping 30% increase since 2018. Remarkably, Northern Ireland leads the pack with 22% of licensed cars classified as SORN in 2023, a huge 51% jump over the same 5-year period.
Estimated SORN value per region:
United Kingdom total
With over 2.4 million off-the-road cars, England’s vehicle owners are sitting on an estimated value of £8.1 billion alone, making up a massive 72% of the UK total.
However, Northern Ireland has the highest ratio of SORN’d cars, with 219 off-the-road cars for every 1,000 licensed in the country. This means Northern Irish owners are the most likely to keep a registered SORN vehicle which translates to an estimated value of £740 million. Comparatively, England demonstrates the lowest ratio with just 90 SORNs for every 1,000 licensed cars.
Paul Barker, motoring expert at Carwow, said, “Looking at these numbers, it’s shocking to see the hidden value held in these unused cars. If you’ve got one of these vehicles sitting idle in your garage, do you know if it is a piece of trash, or is it a piece of treasure? You might want to consider the opportunities that are available to you.
“Recent industry data has shown that certain cars from the noughties have doubled in price. For example, a 2004 Vauxhall Corsa could be worth 94.4% more today than it was in 2019. So, it could save you a lot of money to use a free online valuation calculator to check what your car is really worth.
“At Carwow, we have a specialist team for cars that are a little more unusual, such as classic and vintage cars. This team is available to help if the valuation doesn’t meet expectations or if we are unable to provide a value at the point of listing.
“With over three million SORN vehicles in the UK valued at more than £10.9 billion, these off-the-road cars hold a big opportunity for owners. Not only can the average value of one of these cars fund Christmas five times over, but it could also help towards a larger financial goal. It could be the chance for a fresh start, a new opportunity, or even just a little extra cash.”