2016 was a record year for used car sales after 8.2m vehicles changed hands

Rebecca Smith
The Ford Fiesta, Focus and Vauxhall Corsa were people's top picks among used cars
The Ford Fiesta, Focus and Vauxhall Corsa were people's top picks among used cars (Source: Getty)

Britain's used car market hit record highs last year with 8.2m vehicles sold.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), that marked an uplift of 7.3 per cent. Some 1.8m used cars changed hands in the fourth quarter, with a 5.5 per cent rise in October.

Demand for smaller cars showed no sign of slowing as superminis were the best-selling body type, accounting for over a third of all used car sales. City cars made up 11.5 per cent.

Read more: Pendragon's boss stands by his bullish outlook for 2017

SUV popularity accelerated though, surging 17 per cent to take 8.3 per cent of the market.

It comes as recent research from industry magazine What Car? found average new car prices have risen 5.2 per cent since the Brexit vote – with SUVs up 12.3 per cent in price.

The Ford Fiesta still holds the crown for Britain's best-selling used car, closely followed by the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa.

Read more: UK car sales hit a record high - but have we reached "peak car"?

Mike Hawes, SMMT's chief executive said:

On the back of a record 2016 for UK new car registrations, it’s further good news that our used car market is in such good health.

Strong demand is testament to the quality, reliability and appeal of cars on sale today, with used buyers enjoying more choice, more low emission, safety and connected technology than ever.

Providing economic conditions remain stable and interest rates low, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see growth in this sector continue in 2017.

Last month, the SMMT said UK car sales hit a record high last year, though Hawes warned buyers may be less enthusiastic this year.

"2017 may well be more challenging as sterling depreciation raises the price of imported goods," he said.

Related articles