2023 proved to be a remarkable period for the UK’s used car market, characterised by four consecutive quarters of growth and a significant uptick of 5.1% compared to 2022, according to Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commenting on the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In the fourth quarter alone, the used car market in the UK experienced a substantial surge of 6.9% with 1,679,116 transactions recorded. Throughout the entire year, transactions escalated by 5.1% from the previous year, totalling 7,242,692 transactions.

Notably, the growth was particularly pronounced in the segment of electric vehicles (EVs). Used battery electric vehicles (BEVs) saw an impressive surge of 90.9% capturing a 1.6% market share in 2023. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) also experienced substantial growth, increasing 25.1% while hybrids (HEVs) saw a notable rise of 40%.

However, traditional fuel types, namely petrol and diesel, continued to dominate the vast majority of used car sales, with 4,079,555 and 2,747,911 transactions, respectively, in 2023, constituting 94.3% of the market share.

Sue Robinson emphasized the positive trajectory witnessed in both the new and used car markets throughout 2023, attributing it to a growing consumer interest in EVs. She noted, “the strong performance of used electric which reached record levels and have increased their market share from 4% in 2022 to 5.6% of the market in 2023.”

Robinson underscored the importance of government support for the automotive sector, particularly in addressing pertinent issues to encourage consumers to transition to electric vehicles. The NFDA has already submitted its recommendations for the 2024 Spring Budget, urging the government to take proactive measures to facilitate the growth of the EV market.

Looking ahead, Robinson expressed optimism for the continued momentum of the used car market in 2024, driven by sustained consumer demand and an expanding array of EV models. With supply issues gradually easing, franchised dealers are expected to witness continued strong demand in the used car segment.

The robust growth experience in 2023 signals a promising outlook for the year ahead, marking a significant milestone in the transition towards a more electric-centric automotive landscape in the UK.