SMMT reports Q1 used car sales fall
11 May 2021
Author: Sean Keywood
The number of used car transactions in the first quarter of 2021 was down by 8.9% year-on-year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
It attributed the fall to the Covid-19 lockdown measures which were in place at the start of the year, with January and February seeing annual falls of 27.1% and 19.4% respectively.
In contrast, March was up by 32.2% year-on-year, attributed to the first Covid lockdown being implemented during March 2020, with this year's figure still 8.4% down on March 2019.
Q1 this year did however see a strong performance from alternatively-fuelled used vehicles, with pure EV sales up by 48.3%, plug-in hybrids up by 32.1%, and conventional hybrids up by 16.6%. However, petrol and diesel cars combined still made up 97.1% of the overall used market.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "These figures lay bare the turbulent impact of coronavirus lockdowns on the used car market and, while March's performance suggests there is some pent-up demand, this is against a weak month last year, so its true extent remains to be seen.
"The second quarter will see significant growth as last year's April and May markets were severely limited by lockdown measures.
"It's vital that the used market is rejuvenated to help sustain jobs and livelihoods, drive fleet renewal and support environmental progress.
"With car showrooms open again and the UK coming out of Covid restrictions, the sector can look forward with renewed optimism."