Used car sales up 11.5% in 2021

UK used car market grew in 2021, but remains 5.5 per cent down on pre-Covid five-year average

Used car dealer

Used car sales in the UK increased by 11.5 per cent year-on-year in 2021. A total of 7,530,956 second-hand motors changed hands, although this figure is still 5.5 per cent lower than the pre-Covid five-year average.

The used car market was strong earlier in the year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with the best Q2 on record. Demand for second-hand cars was pushed by the semiconductor shortage reducing availability of new cars. This led to higher prices and low stock, however, which meant used sales tailed off towards the end of the year, falling 3.1 per cent in Q4.

Demand for electric and plug-in hybrid models reached record levels, with sales up 119.2 per cent and 75.6 per cent. Conventional hybrid transactions also rose 50.3 per cent.

Used petrol and diesel car sales, meanwhile, increased by 10.7 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively. This means 96.6 per cent of all used car sales in 2021 were still conventionally powered.

Some 32.7 per cent of used cars sold were superminis, making this the most popular segment, while black was the most popular colour - contrary to the new-car market, where grey is the favourite.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “It’s good to see the used car market return to growth, even if activity is still below where we were pre-pandemic.

“With the global shortage of semiconductors set to ease later this year, releasing the squeeze on new car supply, we expect more of the latest, cleanest and zero emission models to become available for second owners.

“The demand for personal mobility has undoubtedly increased during the pandemic, so it’s vital we have healthy new car sales to drive fleet renewal and the used car market if we are to improve air quality and address climate change.”

Have you bought a used car recently? How did conditions in the market feel to you? Let us know in the comments...

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