DESPITE the slump in new car sales the used car market is bucking the trend with more than eight million vehicles changing hands last year.
According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 2017 was the second highest year on record for used car sales.
Some 8,113,020 used models were sold last year, although figures dipped in the last quarter of the year by 5.1 per cent.
Overall, the used sector was down by 1.1 per cent year on year after record figures in 2016.
Reflecting trends in the new car market, smaller cars continued to be the most popular used buy, with superminis representing a third (33.5 per cent) of all transactions.
SUVs enjoyed the strongest growth, rising 9.5 per cent and apart from executive cars, up a marginal 0.02 per cent, all other segments experienced declines.
In 2017, buyers continued to take advantage of so-called alternatively fuelled vehicles including hybrids and electric vehicles which are now increasingly available in the used market.
Growth was driven by demand for petrol-electric hybrid cars, up 22.2 per cent to 73,864, and zero emission electric vehicles, which rose 77.1 per cent with 10,199 changing hands in the year.
Despite a 4.3 per cent decline, petrol retained its position as the most popular fuel type with a 58.0 per cent market share, while used diesel car transactions rose 3.3 per cent, with more than 3.3 million motorists (40.8 per cent of buyers) investing in one.
Across the UK, the majority of used car transactions took place in the South East, with more than 1.2 million vehicles finding new owners in the region, followed by the North West and West Midlands.
The UK's best-selling used model remained the Ford Fiesta with more than 375,000 sold, closely followed by the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa.
Silver remained the nation's most popular used car colour, despite sales falling 6.5 per cent, while black and blue took second and third places. White, at number five, posted the largest increase of any top 10 colour, rising 10.7 per cent and reflecting the increased popularity of this colour as new, while green experienced the greatest decline in demand as 16.9 per cent fewer buyers chose the colour.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive said:, "Britain's used car buyers are enjoying more choice than ever, and it's great to see millions of people taking advantage of the low emission, safety and convenience technology filtering into this market.
"While such healthy demand is reassuring, to keep it that way and accelerate renewal throughout the fleet - the fastest way to improve air quality - the government must now restore confidence to the new car sector.
"Given the recent economic and fiscal uncertainty, particularly over diesel, consumers and businesses need clarity to encourage them to move out of their older vehicles and into newer, lower emission cars - whatever their fuel type."