SMMT: Used car market declines in second quarter following record 2016

UK used car transactions declined in the second quarter of 2017, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 1,832,400 used cars changed hands in the period, a fall of -13.5%, on the back of a record 2016 and turbulence in the new car market following changes to VED … Continued

UK used car transactions declined in the second quarter of 2017, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 1,832,400 used cars changed hands in the period, a fall of -13.5%, on the back of a record 2016 and turbulence in the new car market following changes to VED rates on new cars introduced on 1 April.

Superminis remained the most popular used vehicle type in Q2, with more than 600,000 buyers accounting for a third (32.7%) of the market, followed by small family cars, with almost half a million changing hands. Minis and SUVs were the only two segments to show growth – up 5.7% and 3.5% respectively, echoing the trend in the new car market.

Meanwhile, black took top position as most popular colour for used cars, chosen by a fifth (21.0%) of motorists and knocking silver off the top spot after several years at number one. Cream, white and brown were the only colours to grow in popularity, up 18.2%, 10.6% and 5.4%.

Figures for the first half of the year also showed a small decrease in demand to 3,966,356 sales, -5.1% lower than the record levels seen in H1 2016 – again reflecting the trend in the new car market.

In the first six months, demand for diesel cars remained strong, with some 1,628,045 changing hands, a small -0.1% year-on-year decline. Meanwhile, petrol sales decreased -8.9% to 2,291,328 units, while alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rose 24.2% with electric cars enjoying particularly strong growth – up 79.3%. However, volumes remain low with AFVs currently accounting for just 1.2% of the market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “With used car sales closely mirroring what we see in the new car market, last quarter’s decline comes as no surprise – and with demand easing over recent months, this could offer motorists the opportunity to get some great deals. However, although the market remains at an exceptionally high level, given the softening we’ve seen in registrations of new cars in more recent months, looking ahead it is vital that government secures the conditions that will maintain consumer and business confidence if we are to see both markets continue to prosper.”

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