The value of used car sales in 2014 reached £45.1bn - a year on year increase of £2.4bn (5.6%) and an all-time high for the sector, according to the 25th edition of the BCA Used Car Market Report published today.
Car ownership is also on the rise, from a five year low of 69% of households in 2014 to 75% in 2015.
Spencer Lock, BCA group managing director, said: "Used car market values rose to record levels, as did the combined value of new and used cars sold as a record-breaking £88.5bn was spent on used and new cars last year."
"A total of 7.2 million used cars were sold last year as the market maintained a strong performance and, alongside the 2.5 million new car sales figures reported by the SMMT, this resulted in a ratio of 2.9 used cars sold to every one new car.
“This combined market churn of 9.7 million cars was one of the highest figures on record - only 2003 recorded a higher volume in recent years."
UK car parc - average age of cars 2000-2016
Key findings of the BCA Used Car Market Report:
- 12% of motorists are likely to buy a car in the next 12 months; almost three quarters (72%) said they would buy second-hand
- Price remains the biggest influence on the way used car buyers approach their search for a suitable car at 58%, followed by running costs at 37% and brand at 32%
- 34% of buyers visited just one forecourt before purchasing a used car; 20% visited up to five before sealing the deal
- 42% of buyers spent 20 minutes or less travelling to the seller of their used car
The report also shows how the mix of used cars is starting to change.
Average age has been rising as a result of lower new car sales following the onset of recession - rising by more than a year to 7.8 years between 2004 and 2014.
However, BCA believes continuing strong new car sales will result in average age beginning to fall again.
Lock said: "The shape of the used car market is likely to change as the new cars sold in the last 3 or so years start to feed into the sector in greater volumes. Dealers that have had to focus increasingly on older vehicles should find growing volumes of younger used cars available to meet the needs of their customers."
The Used Car Market Report is published today by BCA, in association with the Centre for Automotive Management, University of Buckingham.
> BCA commissioned TNS-BRMB to carry out research with 4,000 used car buyers in the UK, March 2015.