THE UK's used car market increased 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Some 1,774,351 transactions took place, with 86,596 additional cars changing hands compared with the same period in 2021, when car showrooms nationwide were closed due to pandemic-related lockdowns with only click and collect transactions allowed.
Despite the global shortage of semiconductors stifling supply in the new car market, used car sales in the quarter were driven by a buoyant market in January and February, with rises of 17.7 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively.
March, on the other hand, saw a decline of 6.8 per cent, following a stronger performing month in 2021 as the pandemic-affected market began to recover.
Despite growth over the course of the quarter, used car transactions remain 12.2 per cent below the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
It was a record first quarter for used battery electric vehicles (BEVs), with buyers keen to purchase pre-owned zero-emission cars.
Transactions for BEVs more than doubled from 6,625 to 14,586, a rise of 120.2 per cent. Plug in hybrids (PHEVs) and hybrids (HEVs) also changed hands in greater numbers than the year before rising by 35.3 per cent to 14,433, and 28.8 per cent to 35,007 units respectively.
Despite the growth, however, petrol and diesel powertrains continued to dominate the used market representing 96.2 per cent of used sales, or some 1,707,135 units.
Plug-in vehicles comprised 3.6 per cent of the total market share - up from 1.6 per cent in Q1 2021, but illustrating that the growth in new EVs over the past two years has yet to have a significant impact on the overall market.
Mini, dual purpose and supermini segments saw the largest growth, up 13.5 per cent, 12.3 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively.
MPV transactions, meanwhile, declined by 7.5 per cent, followed by luxury saloons and upper mediums. Superminis remained the most popular used buy with the Ford Fiesta notching up more than 73,000 transactions followed by the Vauxhall Corsa with more than 61,000 changing hands.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive,said, "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. 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."