Sales of used cars proved strong in the first three months of 2022

Petrol and diesel vehicles continue to account for the majority of sales in the used car market, which increased 5.1% in the first quarter of 2022, according to the latest figures.

Some 1,774,351 transactions took place, with 86,596 additional cars changing hands compared with the same period in 2021, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said.

Combustion-powered cars totalled 96.2% of all used sales – the equivalent to 1,707,135 units, with superminis and hatchbacks leading the way. Topping the charts was the Ford Fiesta (73,851) followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (61,236), Volkswagen Golf (56,787) and Ford Focus (56,250).

Second hand sales in the first three months of the year were boosted by a better-than-expected January and February, with rises of 17.7% and 7.4% respectively. March, on the other hand, witnessed a decline of 6.8%, following a stronger performing month in 2021.

It was a record first quarter for used battery electric vehicles (BEVs); transactions more than doubled from 6,625 to 14,586 – a rise of 120.2% compared to the same period in 2021.

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and hybrids (HEVs) also changed hands in greater numbers than the year before, soaring by 35.3% to 14,433, and 28.8% to 35,007 units respectively. However, the SMMT said these vehicles still have a considerable way to go before they catch up on petrol and diesel.

As for colours, one in five cars that changed hands were black, followed by blue and silver. At the other end of the spectrum, just 1,184 pink cars filtered through to second owners.

“With the new car market hampered by ongoing global supply shortages, growth in the used car market is welcome, if unsurprising especially given we were in lockdown last year,” said Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s Chief Executive.

“Electric car sales are energising the market, with zero emission vehicles starting to filter through in larger numbers to consumers looking forward to driving the latest and greenest vehicles.

“Although there is some way to go before we see the recent growth in new EVs replicated in the used market, a buoyant new car market will be vital to help drive fleet renewal which is essential to the delivery of carbon savings.”

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