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Used car sales continue to decline

According to’s findings from the latest state of the market report in conjunction with BAC Auto Consulting, used car sales for the first two months of 2019 are 6,765 units down – a decline of 3.8 per cent.

However, used imports rose 4.6 per cent in 2018 and this may have weighed on used car sales.

Used car sales have now been falling for more than two years. In 2018 despite strong used car sales volume growth in April and October it wasn’t enough to outweigh the fall in used car sales seen in eight of the 12 months resulting in total used car sales for 2018 dropping 1.8 per cent against 2017 which was itself 1.8 per cent down against 2016.

Some of this is due to the WLTP impacts which saw a lot of new cars registered in the run up to September which were then sold as used vehicles the following month resulting in used car sales rising 8.8 per cent in October 2018 over the same period the previous year.

Total used car imports hit 21.9 per cent of all used car sales last year up from 20.6 per cent the previous year. 2019 has seen that market share follow the trend seen in new and nearly new imports with January and February 2019 imports accounting for just 20.8 per cent of used car sales.

The Bank of England’s decision to increase the base rate to 0.75 per cent in August 2018 has had a little downward impact on sterling although not as much as many had anticipated and whilst the prospect of a no deal Brexit looms there is unlikely to be much which will see sterling rally against the euro in the immediate future.

With 2016 seeing a peak of 945,000 used cars sold which has declined by 1.8 per cent for each of the two successive years there is little to inspire confidence that anything but a continuation of that decline with used car sales expect to be down around 3.5 per cent for the full year.