Used car market buoyant in first quarter

The UK’s used car market grew 4.1% in the first quarter of 2023 following three successive quarters of decline, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It found that 1,847,149 transactions took place, with 72,798 additional cars changing hands compared with the same period in 2022, as growth in the new car market improved availability.

In the best start to a year since 2020, used car sales posted robust growth in each month as demand continued to recover post-pandemic, with rises of 3.6% in January, 4.4% in February and 4.3% in March.

However, first quarter transactions remain 8.6% below pre-pandemic levels, reflecting the ongoing impact of supply challenges and consumer sentiment in light of the economic backdrop.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were the fastest growing powertrain, with transactions rising 56.5% to 26,257 units, representing 1.4% of the

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive,said: “Easing supply chain challenges have reenergised new car registrations, unlocking availability in the used market and, importantly, delivering more zero emission capable vehicles to second and third owners. Sustaining that growth is vital for our environmental goals, which means bolstering the new car market to drive supply to the used sector. Infrastructure rollout must also improve – and at speed – with affordable and reliable charging essential if more used buyers are to switch to the latest and cleanest available vehicles.”