Used car sales are on the rise and buyers are turning to electric vehicles

·2-min read

The UK used car market increased 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the previous year, new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have shown.

The second-hand car market has seen rapid price growth as the semiconductor chip crisis has caused the new car market to struggle to meet demand, driving buyers to used cars instead.

It means some 1,774,351 transactions took place, up 86,596 on Q1 2021, when dealerships were closed to the public during coronavirus-related lockdowns, forcing all sales to take place through click and collect services.

Used Cars summary Q1 2022

The bump in figures was largely driven by high sales in January and February, which were up 17.7 and 7.4 per cent on the same months last year. In March, sales were down 6.8 per cent, as they’re compared with the market recovering as dealers reopened last year.

Despite this growth compared with last year, used car transactions are down 12.2 per cent on the first quarter of 2019, before the pandemic took hold.

The figures from industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders indicate that used buyers are now flocking to electric vehicles. Although plug-in vehicles still make up less than four per cent of the market share, used electric vehicle sales were up 120.2 per cent.

Plug-in hybrids and hybrids were up 35.3 and 28.8 per cent respectively, too.

The Ford Fiesta was the most popular used car in the period, with 73,851 transactions. It was followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (61,236), Volkswagen Golf (56,787), Ford Focus (56,250) and Vauxhall Astra (43,527).

Black was by far the most popular colour, representing over 350,000 sales, followed by blue with just over 291,000 and silver just over 2,000 units behind. Grey and white made up the top five, with over a quarter of a million units each.

Top 10 models Q1 2022

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “With the new car market hampered by ongoing global supply shortages, growth in the used car market is welcome, if unsurprising especially given we were in lockdown last year.

“Electric car sales are energising the market, with zero emission vehicles starting to filter through in larger numbers to consumers looking forward to driving the latest and greenest vehicles.

“Although there is some way to go before we see the recent growth in new EVs replicated in the used market, a buoyant new car market will be vital to help drive fleet renewal which is essential to the delivery of carbon savings.”

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