UK used car market holds steady in 2019

The UK’s used car market remained steady during 2019 with a total of 7,935,105 sales made during the year.

It was almost on par with the previous year, with just a 0.1 per cent drop overall thanks to two-quarters of growth in the second half of 2019, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Outright sales for 2019 were just 9935 short of 2018’s figure.

Sales of petrol cars fell by 0.3 per cent to 4,494,611 transactions, while those of diesel vehicles dropped by 0.6 per cent to 3,297,953 representing a 41.7 per cent market share.

There was a comprehensive rise in the number of used alternatively fuelled vehicles – including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full-electric – increasing to 23.4 per cent with 135,516 sales taking place.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “It is encouraging to see used car sales return to growth in the latter part of 2019 after a prolonged period of decline, and we need to see a similar rebound in new car sales if we are to meet environmental targets. A buoyant used car market is necessary to maintain strong residual values and, clearly, it is now outperforming the new car market.

“This does, however, suggest that weak consumer confidence and ongoing uncertainty over possible future restrictions on different vehicle technologies are causing some car buyers to hold off buying new models. This is delaying the fleet renewal we need now if we are to deliver immediate and continuous improvement in air quality and climate change.”

More of the latest, cleanest, Euro 6 emissions standard vehicles arrived on the used market having first arrived back in 2015 – and sales of these rose to 32.5 per cent.

Superminis remained the most popular segment of used car, taking up a 32.8 per cent market share. Lower medium and upper medium segments were the next most popular with a 27 per cent and 11.8 per cent respective market share, while the dual purpose segment was the only one to post growth in the full year up 11.1 per cent to take a 12.1 per cent market share.

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