The number of UK used car sales in the first quarter of 2019 was down by 0.6% year-on-year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Among the trends shown by the figures, released today, is a big increase in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, up by 30.7%, although these still represented only 1.6% of the overall market. 

Petrol car sales were up by 1.1%, while diesel car sales were down by 3.6% – the latter figure still far outperforming the new car market for diesel cars, which was down by more than 20% during the same period.  

Superminis were the most popular used car segment, but the biggest growth was in SUV sales, which were up by 6.1%. 

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Amid ongoing political and economic uncertainty, a stable used car market is good news for the automotive sector as it underpins crucial new car sales activity. 

“Consumers are benefitting too, as more of the latest, safest and cleanest vehicles filter through to second owners. 

“If we’re to accelerate this shift, and meet shared ambitions on air quality and climate change, a long-term government commitment to supporting take-up of the latest technologies in the new car market will be essential.”