Used market hits record high in first half of year

This year was the first time used vehicle sales topped four million in the first six months.

This year was the first time used vehicle sales topped four million in the first six months. - Credit: PA

A record number of used cars were bought in the UK over the first half of 2016, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

More than 4.1 million used vehicles were bought in Britain as the market grew by 7.9% compared to the same period in 2015.

It's the first time more than four million second-hand vehicles have changed hands in the first six months of a year.

April was the strongest month for sales, with the March plate change causing high levels of stock and leading to more than 760,000 sales, while the highest share of sales was in the south-east of England, which accounted for 14% of all used sales.

As with the new car market, the most popular type of car was the supermini, which made up more than a third (33.9%) of transactions. Family hatchbacks were also popular, being involved in 27.2% of sales.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Golf and Ford Fiesta were among the most popular types of car.

Buyers in London favoured the Focus, while those in Edinburgh and Cardiff were more likely to buy the Corsa and Fiesta. In Belfast, however, Volkswagen's Golf proved the most popular.

Most Read

The most popular colour in the used market, meanwhile, was silver, which sold more than 560,000 units, and black, which also passed the half-million mark at almost 510,000 units.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: 'The UK's used car market is at its strongest ever, and that's great news for buyers spoilt for choice with the latest advanced vehicle technology and attractive financing options.

'The growth in the used car market has reflected the record demand for new cars in recent years, but future growth in high-cost purchases will depend on stable consumer and business confidence.'