Are Americans choosing used cars over new?

Mi (Mimi) Chung
Posted on Feb 18, 2019

According to the above Auto Remarketing article, there is a rise in used-vehicle sales. One of the factors discussed was the high percent in discount on a used car that isn't too different from a newer model. 

In this study, the process of buying a car is made simpler through comparison graphs and the notion that American's are buying used cars instead of new cars is researched. 

Carfax is a website that allows users to list and sell their used vehicles. The filtering and sorting options are extensive, which are very helpful for narrowing down options for people interested in buying. Using Selenium, the year, make, model, price, mileage, color, and body type were scraped. The quantifiable variables were plotted against each other from a subset of car postings as an example for narrowing options for an interested buyer.

Data cleaning was required for the categorical and numerical columns. 


In the above plot, a subset of cars were chosen and it's year and mileage were chosen as variables. For the best value, a newer car with lower mileage is preferred, so the lower right quadrant would be the best options. However, there are many more variables considered during a typical car decision making process.

The above plot adds the Price variable to the previous plot. Here, the size of the bubbles correlate with the relative pricing of each vehicle. For the best value, the smaller bubbles located in the higher end of the Relative Year and the lower end of the Relative Mileage would be the best options. 

To investigate the idea of Americans buying used cars instead of new cars, the change in sales for the year of 2018 was scraped and plotted. This serves as a preliminary approach to compare new vehicle sales to used vehicle sales.

It appears that there is a generally positive trend in new vehicle sales, suggesting that these opposite values of new and used vehicle sales are independent of each other. This normalized plot serves as the first step to exploring the type of buyer and why they chose one over the other.

With both quantifiable and categorical data, more variables can be visualized for more sophisticated decision making, and the sales trends of vehicles in the US can be explained.

About Author

Mi (Mimi) Chung

Mi (Mimi) Chung

Mimi Chung is a data analyst with experience in the chemical and innovative material science industry as an associate engineer. Previously, she has worked across multiple functions to research, develop and sell electronic solutions. She has experience in...
View all posts by Mi (Mimi) Chung >

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