A total of 7,945,040 used cars were sold in 2018, with the Ford Fiesta topping the charts. That’s according to figures released by the Society of Manufacturers and Traders SMMT), which sourced ownership data from the DVLA.
The number represents a drop in used car sales of -2.1% compared with 2017, but is still the third highest year since records began in 2001.
It’s a performance that shows the used market is remaining resilient in the face of challenges that include Brexit, uncertainty over the future of possible anti-diesel taxes, and changes to VED (road tax) legislation that took place in April 2017.
What’s more, there’s evidence that buyers are beginning to take advantage of the increasing availability and diversity of alternative fuel vehicles (that’s predominantly hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric), demand for which grew by 26.9% in 2018, with 106,658 such cars changing hands.
PETROL AND DIESEL STILL TOP THE TABLE
However, it remained petrol and diesel that made up the bulk of used car sales in 2018, with the latter recording growth in demand of 0.3%. That’s a marked contrast to the new car market, where demand for diesel models fell by almost -30% over the same period, suggesting that buyers of used cars are less concerned with the impact of any potential anti-diesel legislation that might be introduced in years to come. The opposite situation applies to petrol, where fewer buyers – to the tune of -4.2% – opted for such cars on the used market, whereas sales of new petrol cars grew by 7.3%.
One trend that did endure was the popularity of superminis (such as the Ford Fiesta, above), which remained the most popular body style of used car, with a 33% share of the market. Sales of SUVs (described by the SMMT as dual purpose vehicles) continued to climb, with 9.3% more finding new homes in 2018 than 2017. The most popular colours of used cars meanwhile were black, silver and blue.
Commenting on the results, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “It’s encouraging to see more used car buyers snapping up low-emission vehicles as supply grows – but those sales remain low as an overall proportion of the market. We still need the right policies and incentives from government to give new car buyers confidence to choose the cleanest petrol, diesel and electric models that best suit their needs, so that even more drivers can benefit from this exciting technology as it filters down to the used market in the coming years.“
USED CAR SEARCHES BY REGION ON CARGURUS
In the interactive map below we have used CarGurus data to show the most searched for used cars in the UK by region. For more information and links to our used car reviews, don’t miss our guide to the 10 most popular used cars in the UK.
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