Used car market continues to slow in 2017

The sale of used cars in the UK fell by 13.5 percent during the second quarter of 2017, according to new research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Year-to-date sales were also down 5.1 percent, although this may not be a cause for concern, given the record-breaking figures seen in 2016.

Up to the end of Q2, 3,966,356 used cars were sold in the UK in 2017, compared to 4,181,042 at the same point in 2016. It has been suggested that this decline is due to uncertainty in national and global markets, as well as the increase in Vehicle Excise Duty announced by the government in April in a bid to tackle CO2 emissions.

However, alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) were a notable exception to the downwards trend, as sales rose by 24.2 percent over Q2. There is also the potential for more growth in years to come, as AFVs currently only account for 1.2 percent of UK vehicles. The government’s recent decision to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 may also have a substantial impact on future figures.

Electric vehicles experienced the most pronounced growth, with a 79.3 percent increase. Diesel vehicles held relatively steady, recording a small decline of 0.1 percent in sales over the year-to-date, whereas petrol vehicle sales were down by 8.9 percent.

Mike Hawes, SMMT’s Chief Executive, said: “Although the market remains at an exceptionally high level, given the softening we’ve seen in registrations of new cars in more recent months, looking ahead it is vital that government secures the conditions that will maintain consumer and business confidence if we are to see both markets continue to prosper.”

It was also revealed the two most popular used cars are made by Ford. 83,222 Ford Focuses and 74,477 Ford Fiestas changed hands over the quarter, closely followed by 72,341 Vauxhall Corsas and 65,186 Vauxhall Astras.

Henry Ford’s mantra that consumers could have “any colour, as long as it’s black” seems to continue to resonate with used car buyers, as it was the most popular colour throughout Q2 (384,223 units sold), with silver coming second (366,194 units sold).