UK’s used car market up as EV sales reach record levels

The UK’s used car market grew by 5.1 per cent to 7,242,692 transactions in 2023, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Four straight quarters of growth saw 351,915 more UK motorists get behind the wheel of a second hand car than in 2022.

Superminis once again proved the most popular used car body type, accounting for one in three (32.1%) sales in the year.

They were followed closely by cars in the lower medium segment, which took 26.6 per cent of the market, and dual purpose vehicles (15.2%).

The smallest volume segment was luxury saloons, representing just 0.5 per cent of transactions.

The Ford Fiesta was the most sold used car in the UK last year, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

Bucking the grey trend in the new market, black cars were the most popular used purchases, with more than 1.5 million buyers (21.4%) choosing the colour. Grey, however, increased its ranking, displacing blue to take second place.

At the niche end of the spectrum, 4,870 buyers opted for pink, while 4,686 cream cars found new owners, and maroon represented 4,585 transactions.

Across the year, sales of used battery electric cars (BEV) in the UK almost doubled, rising 90.9 per cent to a record 118,973 units and a 1.6 per cent share of the overall market, up from 0.9 per cent in 2022.

The uplift is in line with growth in the new car sector and demonstrates keen demand for zero emission motoring in this naturally more affordable price bracket.

Sales of hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars were also strong, up by 40 per cent and 25.1 per cent respectively and, collectively, electrified vehicles represented 5.6 per cent of the market – up from four per cent in 2022.

Diesel and petrol, however, remained the most dominant fuel types, with a total of 6,827,466 units changing hands – 94.3 per cent of the overall market.