UK used car market stable in Q1 with more than 2 million transactions as AFV growth continues

15 May 2019 #SMMT News
  • UK used car market stable in Q1 2019 down just -0.6% with more than 2 million transactions.
  • 30.7% growth in demand for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars as 32,272 change hands.
  • Superminis by far most popular used buy, taking a third market share, followed by lower medium.

The UK’s used car market was stable in the first quarter, down just -0.6%, according to new figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 2,020,144 transactions took place, with segment and powertrain trends seen at the end of last year continuing into 2019 and March the busiest month of activity.

Demand for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars continued to grow, up 30.7%, with 32,272 models changing hands. Of these alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), hybrids experienced the largest growth – up 34.2%, with pure electric rising 4.8% to 3,067 units. However, AFVs took just 1.6% of all transactions in Q1, with conventional petrol and diesel making up 98.3% of the market, the fuel types up 1.1% and down -3.6% respectively.

Reflecting trends in the new car market, superminis remained by far the most popular used buy, with 676,395 of these smaller cars finding new owners – an uplift of some 6,000 units on Q1 2018. The dual purpose segment, meanwhile, enjoyed the largest growth, demand rising 6.1%. Black was the favourite colour choice ahead of silver/aluminium and blue, with pink the least popular of all despite a 27.1% rise in transactions, the largest uplift of any colour.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

Amid ongoing political and economic uncertainty, a stable used car market is good news for the automotive sector as it underpins crucial new car sales activity. Consumers are benefitting too, as more of the latest, safest and cleanest vehicles filter through to second owners. If we’re to accelerate this shift, and meet shared ambitions on air quality and climate change, a long-term government commitment to supporting take up of the latest technologies in the new car market will be essential.

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