Black was the most sought after car in the used car market during 2021, SMMT figures show

Superminis remained the most popular car choice in the second hand market last year, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Used examples of the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa accounted for just over a third of total sales at 32.7%.

Year-on-year transactions us used passenger vehicles rose by 11.5% to 7,530,956 – an increase of 777,997 on 2020 when consumer spending and confidence was knocked by lockdown restrictions – but the market was still down 5.5% on the pre-pandemic five-year average.

The final quarter of 2021 “rounded off a volatile year for the market”, the SMMT said, although the second quarter proved to be the best Q2 on record thanks to 2.1 million deals being agreed.

May emerged as “the highpoint” with 769,782 cars finding new keepers across the month, while December’s performance fell by 10.2% as COVID-19 Omicron cases accelerated and restrictions increased.

Annual demand for battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEVs) vehicles hit record levels, growing by 119.2% and 75.6% to 40,228 and 56,861 respectively. Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) transactions also rose by 50.3% to 137,639 – a new high for the technology.

The popularity of used petrol and diesel remained strong and increased by 10.7% and 9.8% respectively, with a combined 7,277,291 units changing hands. It means that even with record demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles, 96.6% of all used car sales were still either petrol or diesel models.

Commenting on the latest used car market figures Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s good to see the used car market return to growth, even if activity is still below where we were pre-pandemic.

“With the global shortage of semiconductors set to ease later this year, releasing the squeeze on new car supply, we expect more of the latest, cleanest and zero emission models to become available for second owners.

“The demand for personal mobility has undoubtedly increased during the pandemic, so it’s vital we have healthy new car sales to drive fleet renewal and the used car market if we are to improve air quality and address climate change,” he added.

As for popular colours, grey topped the charts in the new car market with black the most sought after among used buyers in 2021; more than 1.6 million examples were moved on to new homes.

At the other end of the spectrum, 20,230 people chose a bronze car and pink trailed in last place, representing nearly 5,000 sales.

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