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...

Most Popular

New MG3 hopes to disrupt the Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa’s supermini dominance
MG3 on Geneva Motor Show stand - front
News

New MG3 hopes to disrupt the Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa’s supermini dominance

New MG3 features the company’s first full-hybrid powertrain; pricing to be announced in March
26 Feb 2024
New Renault 4 will go 4x4 to get ahead in the baby EV SUV class
Renault 4EVER concept car in 1962 4L paint - front 3/4 static
News

New Renault 4 will go 4x4 to get ahead in the baby EV SUV class

The forthcoming Renault 4 is likely to offer a four-wheel-drive option, helping it to stand out in the market for baby all-electric SUVs
27 Feb 2024
Dacia heads for VW Golf and Ford Focus territory with new C-Neo that’s definitely ‘not an SUV’
Dacia badge
News

Dacia heads for VW Golf and Ford Focus territory with new C-Neo that’s definitely ‘not an SUV’

As big names vacate the traditional C-segment, Dacia sees an opportunity for its new petrol family car
27 Feb 2024