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UK sees record Q2 used car sales

Date: 10 August 2021   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Used car sales hit record levels during the second quarter of 2021, according to newly-released figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 2,167,504 transactions were recorded, which as well as being a 108.6% increase on the same, lockdown-affected period in 2020, was also a 6.6% improvement on 2019.

It was the best Q2 ever for the used car market, and came close to being the best quarter ever (just over 1,000 units behind Q3 2020), while the individual month records for May and June were also all-time highs.

The SMMT has attributed the increases to the continuing supply shortages affecting the new car market amid the global semiconductor crisis, as well as people seeking alternatives to public transport. 

According to the SMMT, demand for both pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars more than tripled during Q2. However, these still only accounted for 1.3% of the market between them, while petrol and diesel cars combined took a 96.4% market share.

The figures also show that older used cars have seen the most demand, with cars less than three years old accounting for only 12.7% of the market, the lowest share on record. 

Reacting to the overall figures, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "This is welcome news for the used car market as transactions rebounded following nationwide lockdowns which closed retailers. 

"More motorists are turning to used cars as supply shortages continue to affect the new car market, and [due to] the increased need for personal mobility with people remaining wary of public transport as they return to work.

"A buoyant used car market is necessary to maintain strong residual values which, in turn, supports new car transactions. We now need to see a similar rebound in new car sales to accelerate the fleet renewal necessary to deliver immediate and continuous improvements in air quality and carbon emissions."