Best ever second quarter for used car sales

Second-hand car sales in the UK reached a record high in the April-June quarter as Covid-19 restrictions eased.

More than 2.1 million vehicles changed hands thanks to a combination of factors including businesses reopening, greater demand for personal transport and a shortage of new models, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Sales were up 108.6% compared with the second quarter of 2020 and increased by 6.6% on the 2019 pre-pandemic level.

The market share for used plug-in vehicles grew to 1.3%, but petrol and diesel cars still accounted for the vast majority of sales.

There was higher demand in all segments, with dual purpose seeing the biggest increase, up 147.7%, pushing their market share to 13.5%, still behind superminis (31.9% share) and lower medium (27.0%) segment volumes.

Black was the number one colour choice, followed by silver/aluminium and blue, and together these three colours represented more than half of all sales (54.8%).

“More motorists are turning to used cars as supply shortages continue to affect the new car market, and the increased need for personal mobility with people remaining wary of public transport as they return to work,” commented SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“A buoyant used car market is necessary to maintain strong residual values which, in turn, supports new car transactions. We now need to see a similar rebound in new car sales to accelerate the fleet renewal necessary to deliver immediate and continuous improvements in air quality and carbon emissions.”