Used car market posts robust 2017 figures as EV sales surge

Over 8.1 million second-hand cars changed hands last year, with used electric car sales surging by 77 per cent

Dealer forecourt

The UK’s used car market remained in rude health last year, with 8.1 million second-hand models changing hands in 2017. That represents a drop of just 1.1 per cent on 2016 and is a marked contrast to the new car market, which was down 5.7 per cent over the same period.

The figures, released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and sourced from DVLA records, also show a huge increase in the popularity of used electric cars. These saw a 77.1 per cent increase in demand, with 10,199 second-hand EVs being bought in 2017.

• Best used cars to buy in 2017

And while vendors experienced a 5.1 per cent fall in sales in the final quarter, this wasn’t enough to stop 2017 being the second best year on record for used car sales, topped only by 2016.

In addition to the growing popularity of electric cars, sales of second-hand hybrids were up by 22.2 per cent in 2017. The market for used diesels, meanwhile, actually rose by 3.3 per cent in 2017, an opposite trend to last year’s new car sales figures, which showed a drop in diesel demand of roughly 17 per cent.

Used SUVs also rode high in 2017 with a 9.5 per cent increase in sales, while the popularity of superminis rose by 4.3 per cent. The news wasn’t all good though as, aside from a fractional increase (0.02 per cent) in the second-hand executive car market, all other used segments experienced a drop in popularity.

The South East of England saw the greatest proportion of used cars changing hands, with 1.2 million used cars sold there last year. Silver was the most popular colour on the second-hand market.

Commenting on the figures, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT said: “While such healthy demand is reassuring, to keep it that way and accelerate renewal throughout the fleet – the fastest way to improve air quality – government must now restore confidence to the new car sector.

“Given the recent economic and fiscal uncertainty, particularly over diesel, consumers and businesses need clarity to encourage them to move out of their older vehicles and into newer, lower emission cars – whatever their fuel type.”

Now check out our 2017 Used Car Awards winners...

Recommended

Pay-per-mile road pricing no longer politically toxic, study suggests
Motorway
News

Pay-per-mile road pricing no longer politically toxic, study suggests

The Social Market Foundation says fuel duty unfairness opens the door for road pricing schemes
15 Oct 2021
Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirms digital driving licences are on the way
Digital driving licence
Consumer news

Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirms digital driving licences are on the way

DVLA plans to offer a digital provisional driving licence by 2024, with full digital licences to follow at a later date
17 Sep 2021
Electric car charge points to be installed in every new home in the UK
Home charging point
News

Electric car charge points to be installed in every new home in the UK

England will be the first country in the world to introduce mandatory electric car charging points for new-build homes
10 Sep 2021
Government asks for more Smart Motorway safety data with revised Highway Code on the way
smart motorway
News

Government asks for more Smart Motorway safety data with revised Highway Code on the way

A revised version of the Highway Code will cover Smart Motorway driving, as National Highways pledges to improve data and monitoring
8 Sep 2021

Most Popular

New Kia EV6 2021 review
Kia EV6 front tracking
Kia EV6

New Kia EV6 2021 review

With a sporty drive, 300-plus miles of range and plenty of tech - could the new Kia EV6 be one of the best electric cars on sale?
19 Oct 2021
Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge: 2021 group test review
Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge
Car group tests

Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge: 2021 group test review

The all-electric Volvo C40 Recharge meets another premium wannabe in the Cupra Born. But can they beat the super-posh new Mercedes EQA?
19 Oct 2021
New Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2021 review
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT - front
Ford Mustang Mach-E

New Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2021 review

With 480bhp and a 310-mile range, does the new Ford Mustang Mach-E GT offers the perfect blend of performance and practicality? We find out...
19 Oct 2021