Used car sales fall to lowest level since 2012

Last year saw 6.75 million used cars change hands - 14.9 per cent fewer than in 2019 - with Covid-19 lockdowns impacting the market

Ford Fiesta Mk6

Used car sales in the UK fell by 14.9 per cent in 2020 as a result of coronavirus lockdowns closing showrooms and denting consumer confidence. A total of 6,752,959 used cars changed hands, down from 7,935,105 in 2019, the worst year for the market since 2012.

The used car market wasn’t in bad shape for the whole year - October saw a 3.7 per cent rise in sales and this was the fourth consecutive month of growth, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It was followed by year-on-year declines of 18.3 per cent and 4.2 per cent in November and December, though, as new lockdown restrictions came into force.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles managed to buck the downward trend, with sales increasing 5.2 per cent to 144,225 in 2020, giving them a market share of 2.1 per cent. Used electric cars saw a 29.7 per cent rise in popularity, but still only accounted for 0.3 per cent of the market. Demand for conventional hybrids rose 4.7 per cent, but sales of used plug-in hybrids fell by five per cent.

As for petrol and diesel cars, used sales of these were down 15.2 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively. The most popular used car colour was black, followed by silver and blue. Grey - the most popular new car colour in 2020 - only came fourth on the used market.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, commented: “These figures are yet more evidence of the significant damage coronavirus has caused the automotive sector. Market growth at the start of the year was welcome, but quickly stifled by the first lockdown as showrooms closed across the country - a picture that was repeated with the subsequent lockdowns in November and, indeed, into 2021.

Used car sales

“The priority now must be to allow car showrooms to re-open as soon as restrictions are eased. This will not only help the used market recover - supporting jobs and livelihoods, and providing individuals with the personal mobility they need at a time when guidance is against using public or shared transport - but it will also enable the latest and cleanest vehicles to filter through to second owners and keep society moving.”

Check out the best-selling cars in the UK here...

Most Popular

New all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 arrives to take on Tesla
Ioniq 5 - front
Hyundai

New all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 arrives to take on Tesla

The new Ioniq 5 – the first model from Hyundai’s all-electric sub-brand – takes design influence from the 45 Concept and will be offered with two batt…
23 Feb 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI ‘Edition 45’ anniversary model leaked
Volkswagen Golf GTI 'Edition 45' - front
Volkswagen Golf GTI Hatchback

Volkswagen Golf GTI ‘Edition 45’ anniversary model leaked

The Volkswagen Golf GTI will soon get a new special edition model to celebrate its Sapphire anniversary
23 Feb 2021
New Dacia Sandero Stepway Bi-Fuel 2021 review
Dacia Sandero Stepway - front
Dacia Sandero Stepway

New Dacia Sandero Stepway Bi-Fuel 2021 review

At just under £11k, the new Dacia Sandero Stepway is one of the best value-for-money cars on the market
24 Feb 2021