Used car transaction grew in the first quarter of 2022 although they remain below pre-pandemic levels.

As new car sales continue to be impacted by the ongoing supply constraints, consumer appetite for second-hand vehicles remained robust in the first quarter of the year.

The UK’s used car market rose 5.1% in the first quarter of 2022 with 1,774,351 transactions, according to the latest SMMT figures. There were 86,596 more cars changing hands compared to the same period in 2021. Despite this increase, used car transactions remain -12.2% below pre-pandemic levels.

Used car sales in Q1 were driven by a strong market in January and February, with rises of 17.7% and 7.4% respectively; whilst March saw a decline of -6.8%.

Used battery electric vehicles (BEVs) saw an impressive 120.2% growth; plug in hybrids (PHEVs) and hybrids (HEVs) rose by 35.3% to 14,433, and 28.8% to 35,007 units respectively.

Petrol and diesel continued to account for the vast majority of used sales (over 96%), with plug-in vehicles comprising 3.6% of the total market share, up from 1.6% in Q1 2021.

The used electric vehicle segment grew significantly as sales of new EVs filter through the used car market. Franchised dealers and, in particular, Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) accredited retailers, continue to facilitate the growth of the new and used EV markets and the increase in transactions is testament to their efforts.

“Despite the uptake of second-hand EVs, the fact that internal combustion engine vehicles are still dominating the used car market shows that the renewal of the UK car parc needs time despite industry’s investments”, Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive highlighted.

“Going forward, demand for used vehicles is expected to remain stable although external factors such as supply issues will continue to play a key role”.

The SMMT data showed mini, dual purpose and supermini segments saw the largest growth, up 13.5%, 12.3% and 9.1% respectively. MPV transactions, meanwhile, declined by -7.5%, followed by luxury saloons (-3.4%) and upper mediums (-3.0%). Superminis (32.6%) remained the most popular used buy.

Black was the most popular colour choice, followed by blue and silver/aluminium.