The UK's used car market demonstrated a resilient growth of 4.1% in the second quarter of 2023, recording 1,832,267 vehicle transactions according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
This growth reflects the steady expansion of the new car market and improved availability. While the Q2 performance is still 9.9% below 2019 levels, it showcases a continuing recovery trend. Notably, the market is being significantly influenced by the surge in used battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales, which skyrocketed by 81.8% to reach 30,645 units, setting a record market share of 1.7%.

Key Insights:

  • The second quarter of 2023 saw a 4.1% growth in the UK's used car market, with 1,832,267 transactions.
  • The upswing in growth can be attributed to sustained expansion in the new car market and improved availability.
  • Supply chain disruptions easing throughout the year have contributed to consistent sales growth in every month.
  • Despite the progress, the Q2 market remains 9.9% below the transaction levels recorded in 2019.
  • Used BEV sales achieved remarkable growth, surging by 81.8%, resulting in 30,645 units sold.
  • This surge in BEV sales marked a historic milestone, accounting for a record market share of 1.7%, up from 1.0% in the previous year.
  • Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and hybrids (HEVs) also experienced double-digit growth, with 11.4% (18,437 units) and 29.5% (53,634 units) increases respectively.
  • The proportion of electrified vehicles in the market caused the market share of conventionally powered cars to decrease slightly to 94.3% from 95.7%.
  • Petrol and diesel cars saw growth of 2.5% and 2.8% respectively.
  • The broader context of the first half of the year shows a 4.1% increase in used car transactions, with 3,679,416 vehicles, compared to the previous year.
  • Despite this growth, the market is still 9.2% below the pre-pandemic figure of 4,054,380 transactions recorded in the first half of 2019.
  • Superminis retained their position as the top-selling used vehicle type, comprising 31.5% of transactions and growing by 4.4% to reach 576,980 units.
  • In terms of colour preferences, black remained the most popular choice, making up 21.3% of transactions, followed by grey and blue.
  • Geographically, the south-east of England led in sales with 275,105 transactions, followed by the north-west and West Midlands.