Good news for dealers as used car sales return to growth

Used car sales in the UK have increased for the first time since 2017, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).


The UK’s used car market increased by 0.9% in the third quarter of this year after nine consecutive quarters of decline. There were 2,076,382 transactions between July and September, 18,925 more than in the same period of 2018.

Sales of diesel models rose by 1.4% — in contrast to the continued fall in sales of new diesel cars — while used petrol car sales were almost unchanged, showing a 0.2% dip.

Plug-in electric and hybrid models were up 13.0%, but still only represent 1.8% of the overall market.
What sort of cars were people buying?

Reflecting the trend in the new car market, superminis remained the most popular segment and accounted for one in three (33.0%) transactions.

The lower medium and upper medium segments were the next most popular, with 27.0% and 11.7% shares respectively. Meanwhile, the dual purpose segment showed the largest year-on-year percentage growth (15.2%) to reach a market share of 11.6%.

For the year to date the used car market was down by 0.8%, with 51,785 fewer transactions than in the first nine months of last year.


Commenting on the quarterly figures, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “This growth, following a prolonged period of decline, is encouraging and it’s great to see a growing appetite for plug-in and hybrid models as they start to filter down to the used market.

However, ongoing economic uncertainty and growing confusion over local clean air zones make it difficult to predict the future.

“To make meaningful environmental gains, we need to get more of the latest, lowest emitting cars on to our roads replacing older ones quickly — and that means delivering the right conditions and policies to give new and used buyers confidence to invest in the vehicles that best suit their driving needs and budgets.”

If you buy and sell used cars, motor trade insurance from the Insurance Factory can help protect your vehicles, your staff and your business.

Get a quote today!