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UK Used Car Market Grows After Decline

By Stephen Turvil | November 20, 2019


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Motor industry bounces back as used car sales increase throughout quarter 3 of 2019 – following years of decline

UK Used Car Market Grows After Decline

Used car sales Q3 2019

The UK’s used car market bounced back in quarter 3 of 2019 following 9 straight quarters of decline, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed. Between July and September 2019, 2,076,382 used cars were sold compared to only 2,057,457 in the equivalent period the previous year (+ 18,925 vehicles / 0.9%).

The supermini sector proved the most popular with used buyers. 684,929 such vehicles found new homes which accounted for 33% of the transactions. The lower medium and upper medium sectors were the next most popular. Market share was 27% and 11.7% respectively. The dual purpose sector took 11.6%. The most popular vehicles were:

  • Ford Fiesta – 90,428
  • Vauxhall Corsa – 77,101
  • Ford Focus – 75,093
  • Volkswagen Golf – 67,649
  • Vauxhall Astra – 63,906
  • BMW 3 Series – 47,617
  • MINI – 45,181
  • Volkswagen Polo – 40,710
  • Audi A3 – 33,485
  • BMW 1 Series – 32,273.

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Eco cars increasingly popular

Within these figures, plug-in electric and hybrid cars proved increasingly popular on the used market. In quarter 3 of 2019, sales rose by 13% compared to the equivalent period the previous year. Diesel sales increased 1.4%. In contrast, the number of motorists who chose a used petrol vehicle fell slightly, by - 0.2%.

Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, welcomed the growth in the used car market. He explained: ‘This growth – following a prolonged period of decline – is encouraging and it’s great to see a growing appetite for plug-in and hybrid models as they start to filter down to the used market.’

Mr Hawes continued: ‘To make environmental gains, we need to get more of the latest, lowest emitting cars on to our roads and replace older ones quickly.’ He therefore hinted that action is required. There has to be the ‘conditions and policies’ to make people want to swap, he suggested. More fast car chargers, perhaps.

UK Used Car Market Grows After Decline Image 1

Most popular car colours

The Society’s figures offer further insight into the used car market. For instance, black was the most popular colour in quarter 3 of 2019. 441,172 black cars got new homes. Black was followed by:

  • silver/aluminium – 387,329
  • blue – 356,828
  • grey – 296,255
  • white – 261,529
  • red – 213,212
  • green – 45,170
  • orange – 13,384
  • beige/buff – 12,492
  • yellow – 11,676.

Used car sales by region

Furthermore, motorists in the South East were the most prolific used car buyers. There were 307,391 transactions between July and September 2019. This region was followed the: North West (221,472), West Midlands (205,923), East (199,014), and the South West (196,639). The motor industry is now hoping the used market continues to rise in the next quarter rather than falling backwards.

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