Used car market falls 8.3 per cent in first quarter of 2020

The UK’s used car market fell by 8.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, according to new figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Despite growth in January and February of 2.9 per cent and four per cent respectively, the coronavirus crisis wiped out any potential gains with a 30.7 per cent fall in March – the lowest month on record.

In the first quarter of 2020 there were 1,851,919 used car transactions, compared with 2,020,144 in Q1 2019.

UK used car transactions Q1 2020 and change on 2019 YTD table

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Encouraging growth for used car sales was wiped out in March as the coronavirus lockdown measures were introduced and, this subdued activity is likely to continue into the second quarter.

“While it is tricky to predict future demand, the impact of social distancing requirements on public transport means that, for many people, the car will play an even more important role in helping them travel safely to work. Re-opening new and used car outlets will support this, enabling more of the latest, cleanest vehicles to filter through to second owners and help support the UK’s green growth agenda.”

Top 10 models Q1 2020

Superminis topped the charts, with the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa selling 81,371 and 69,847 respectively. The Ford Focus rounded out the top three, selling 68,000.

Pre-owned plug-in hybrid models bucked the overall trend of decline, though, with demand increasing 13.6 per cent in the first quarter following a bumper January and February. Despite the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, petrol- and diesel-powered vehicle sales still accounted for almost 98 per cent of all used sales.

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