SMMT reveals bumper used cars sales in first half of 2016 but remains cautious about further growth

Oliver Gill
Follow Oliver
Henry Ford, 37, US car manufacturer, pose for a ph
Ford makes the most popular car in Britain's used car market (Source: Getty)

There was the highest number of used car sales on record in the first of half this year according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The number of used cars changing hands grew by 7.9 per cent in the first six months of 2016 and during the second quarter of the year there was volume growth of 6.7 per cent compared to the prior year.

"The UK’s used car market is at its strongest ever, and that’s great news for buyers spoilt for choice with the latest advanced vehicle technology and attractive financing options," said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

Reflecting on the fact that sales had broken through the four million barrier for the first time ever, SMMT said that the pace of growth mirrored that which was experienced in 2015.

Nevertheless, despite the good news, the SMMT was cautious whether the growth trend would continue.

"The growth in the used car market has reflected the record demand for new cars in recent years, but future growth in high cost purchases will depend on stable consumer and business confidence," said Hawes.

Read more: Brexit would throw automotive industry into jeopardy, SMMT warns

London topped the rankings as the city with the most transactions during the first half of 2016 with 354,486 sales – five times the number sold in Birmingham who occupied second place.

A third of all used car sales were for the super-minis. Together with small family cars (27.2 per cent of sales) this meant that these two car types accounted for over 60 per cent of all transactions.

Britain’s love with the Ford Fiesta continued as it was the most sought after with 60,000 sales. However, despite having to deal with more congested roads, Londoners preferred its larger sibling, the Ford Focus.

Read more: What Brexit? New car registrations edge up in July

As might be expected with new car registrations starting in March there was a flood of used sales during the following month, making April the most popular single month with 760,308 sales.

The SMMT added that many used car buyers would be on the look-out for cars that were flogged not too long after being made – the most sought after age of car was between one and three years.

Related articles