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Used car sales reach record levels in 2016 - SMMT

A line-up of older used cars

Britain’s used car market reached record levels in 2016 with 8.2 million vehicles sold – an uplift of 7.3% – according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Meanwhile, 1.8 million used cars changed hands in the fourth quarter, with a 5.5% rise in October making it the second busiest month since the switch to a biannual new car plate change – the busiest month being April of the same year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT 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.”

Demand for smaller cars showed no signs of slowing. Superminis were again the best-selling body type accounting for more than a third of all used car sales whilst transactions of city cars grew 11.5%. Of all body types, however, SUVs’ popularity rose fastest – up nearly 17% to take an 8.3% share of the market.

Although petrol still leads as the used fuel type of choice with more than 4.6 million traded, its market share fell slightly by -1.5% as alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) and diesel demand enjoyed greater growth, again reflecting the shift in new car sales to diesel over the past decade or so.

Used AFV registrations rose 32.5%, while diesels increased 11.1% and petrol transactions grew 4.7%.

Regionally, 14.9% of all used cars changing hands in 2016 did so in the South East, followed by the North West where more than one in 10 of the UK’s used cars were sold (10.4%), and the East with 9.8% market share.

Britain’s best selling used car remained the Ford Fiesta, closely followed by the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa.

Meanwhile, silver remained the number one used car colour choice ahead of black and blue, while brown entered the top 10 in place of gold. 

Top 10 models in 2016    
Make Model Range YTD 2016
FORD FIESTA 381,519
FORD FOCUS 374,590
VAUXHALL CORSA 352,899
VAUXHALL ASTRA 298,540
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 262,623
BMW 3 SERIES 211,656
RENAULT CLIO 178,684
VOLKSWAGEN POLO 154,855
MINI MINI 143,066
PEUGEOT 206 126,176
     
Top 10 regions in 2016    
REGION YTD TOTAL  
SOUTH EAST 1,222,600  
NORTH WEST 850,792  
EAST 803,528  
WEST MIDLANDS 802,935  
SOUTH WEST 785,915  
LONDON 704,649  
YORKSHIRE AND HUMBERSIDE 697,385  
SCOTLAND 656,790  
EAST MIDLANDS 647,980  
WALES 436,873  
     
Top 10 colours in 2016    
Colour YTD total  
SILVER/ALUMINIUM 417,937  
BLACK 380,226  
BLUE 344,060  
GREY 223,358  
RED 194,922  
WHITE 178,875  
GREEN 63,554  
BEIGE/BUFF 12,589  
YELLOW 11,203  
BROWN 9,492  

Source: SMMT

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