Confident Britain sees record 8 million used cars sold in 2016 despite Brexit vote

February 17, 2017

Britain’s used car market surged to record levels in 2016, with 8.2m vehicles sold, up a solid 7.3% on the previous year. 

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT) also show Q4 2016 was the biggest final quarter on record, with demand up 5.5% and surpassing 1.8m units. 

Superminis remain the UK’s most popular segment, accounting for more than a third of all used car sales, and sales of used city cars were up 11.5%. 

However, SUVs enjoyed the biggest growth, with demand rising 16.9%, now commanding an 8.3% share of the used car market. 

Despite petrol being the preferred fuel type with 4.6m used sales, its market share fell 1.5%. Diesel demand grew 11.1% as petrol grew at a slower rate of 4.7%, and demand for used alternative fuel vehicles (almost entirely electric vehicles) surged 32.5% as the nascent sector grows. 

The South East (excluding London) was the largest region, accounting for 14.9% of sales, followed by the North West on 10.4%. 

Britain’s best-selling car remained the Ford Fiesta, just ahead of the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa. Silver remained the used car colour of choice. 

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: On the back of a record 2016 for UK new car registrations, it’s further good news that our used car market is in such good health. Strong demand is testament to the quality, reliability and appeal of cars on sale today, with used buyers enjoying more choice, more low emission, safety and connected technology than ever. Providing economic conditions remain stable and interest rates low, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see growth in this sector continue in 2017. 

The UK’s 2017 used car prospects are discussed in Autovista Intelligence’s Residual Value Outlook 2017 report.

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