Record number of used cars bought in first half of year as 4 million cars change owners

23 August 2016 #SMMT News
  • More than 4 million used cars changed hands in H1 2016, the highest number on record.
  • Demand grew 7.9% on same period last year.
  • Most popular used car was silver, aged between one and three years-old and a supermini.

Used cars overview table

The UK’s used car market grew by 7.9% in the first half of 2016, to reach the highest number of sales since records began, according to new figures published today by SMMT.

4,181,042 used car transactions were made between January and June – the first time the market has surpassed four million units in the first half of the year. The surge in used car sales mirrors the record and sustained levels of growth in the new car market in 2015 and earlier this year.

Motorists in the South East of England were responsible for the highest share of sales (14%), followed by those in the North West (10.2%) and the West Midlands (9.8%). Meanwhile, London was Britain’s used car capital, followed by Birmingham and Leeds.

April was the most popular time to buy a used car, when used car stock is particularly strong following March’s plate change, with more than three quarters of a million (760,308) vehicles purchased in this month. The most sought after age for a used car was between one- and three-years-old, with these making up the biggest proportion of overall sales.

Reflecting the trend towards more compact driving seen in the new car sector, superminis were the most sought after body type, representing one in three transactions (33.9%), with small family cars in second place, accounting for more than a quarter (27.2%).

Silver was the most popular colour, with almost half a million cars changing hands so far this year, followed by black, chosen by one in 10 used buyers, blue and grey. Bolder colours were in also in demand, with yellow and gold, which had fallen in popularity in the new market, now featuring once again in the used car top 10.

The Ford Fiesta was the UK’s favourite used car, with nearly 60,000 sold so far this year. Ths was true of buyers in Cardiff, while Edinburgh’s best-selling used car was the Vauxhall Corsa, Londoners preferred the Ford Focus and car buyers in Belfast were more likely to opt for the Volkswagen Golf.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT, said, “The UK’s used car market is at its strongest ever, and that’s great news for buyers spoilt for choice with the latest advanced vehicle technology and attractive financing options.3 The growth in the used car market has reflected the record demand for new cars in recent years, but future growth in high cost purchases will depend on stable consumer and business confidence.”


Top 10 used car colours H1 2016

Top 10 cities H1 2016

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