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Used car market sees annual decline

Date: 09 February 2021   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Used car transactions in the UK were down by 14.9% in 2020, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The decline has unsurprisingly been attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, with showrooms shut during lockdowns, and also consumer and business confidence affected.

In total, 6,752,959 used cars were sold in 2020, nearly 1.2 million fewer than in 2019. 

There was however a 5.2% rise in sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles, including a 29.7% increase for pure EVs, though these still only made up 0.3% of the overall market.

Conventional hybrids were up by 4.7%, while plug-in hybrids were down by 5%. 

Petrol and diesel car sales were down by 15.2% and 15.5% respectively.

The SMMT has also reported separate figures for the fourth quarter of 2020, which saw a 6.2% decline year-on-year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "These figures are yet more evidence of the significant damage coronavirus has caused the automotive sector. Market growth at the start of the year was welcome but quickly stifled by the first lockdown as showrooms closed across the country, a picture that was repeated with the subsequent lockdowns in November and, indeed, into 2021. 

"The priority now must be to allow car showrooms to re-open as soon as restrictions are eased. This will not only help the used market recover, supporting jobs and livelihoods and providing individuals with the personal mobility they need at a time when guidance is against using public or shared transport, but it will also enable the latest and cleanest vehicles to filter through to second owners and keep society moving."