UK’s used car sales fell 8.5% as dealers struggled to stock forecourts
Sales of used cars slipped by 8.5 per cent in the UK last year despite huge demand for second-hand motors, new figures show.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said just 6.9million vehicles changed hands in 2022, down from 7.5million during the previous 12 months.
Restricted production of new vehicles caused by part supply issues in the hangover from the pandemic has seen record demand for used cars, which in turn has pushed prices to record levels.
But the trade body said these same new car manufacturing constraints had a knock-on effect for used motor dealers who were unable to re-stock their showrooms and forecourts with vehicles.
Used car sales slump: The total of 6.9million second-hand motors changing hands in 2022 was the second lowest annual amount for a decade, new industry figures confirmed on Friday
The Ford Fiesta, the most common car on Britain’s roads with around 1.5million registered today, was the most bought and sold second-hand model, with 288,639 changing ownership last year.
The Vauxhall Corsa was second in the list with 229,454 transactions ahead of the VW Golf (216,227).
Used battery electric cars bucked the trend, with a record 71,071 sold in 2022, the SMMT said.
That represents a 37.5 per cent year-on-year increase as more pure electric vehicles enter the second-hand market, though is still half the number of used hybrids changing hands.
The Ford Fiesta with 288,639 changing ownership last year, ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa and VW Golf
Of all used motor sales, 3.9million are petrols and almost 2.7million diesels.
While many will point to the cost of living crisis limiting spending on big ticket purchases like a replacement car, the SMMT’s data shows that overall transactions increased by 0.8 per cent in December compared with the same month in 2021 –despite the final month of the year traditionally being the quietest for dealers.
This was the first monthly rise since February 2022 and represents the easing of part supply issues – namely the semiconductor chip shortage – that have crippled the new car market since 2020.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said just 6.9million vehicles changed hands in 2022, down from 7.5million during the previous 12 months
The trade body said new car manufacturing constraints had a knock-on effect for used motor dealers who were unable to re-stock their showrooms and forecourts with vehicles
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘While the market headlines are negative and reflective of the squeeze on new car supply last year, record electrified vehicle uptake is a bright spot and demonstrates a growing appetite for these models.
‘With new car registrations growth expected this year, more of the latest low and zero emission models should become available to second owners.
‘Accelerating uptake is key and will be dependent on drivers being assured of a positive ownership experience.
‘This means ensuring charging infrastructure keeps pace with demand as more new and used car buyers make the switch to zero-emission motoring than ever before.’
The total of 6.9million used cars changing hands in 2022 was the second lowest annual amount since 2012.
Just 6.8million were sold in 2020 amid coronavirus lockdowns.
Used battery electric cars bucked the trend, with a record 71,071 sold in 2022. However, this is still only half the number of used hybrids changing hands and significantly behind 3.9m petrols and 2.7m diesels
Ian Plummer, commercial director at online vehicle marketplace Auto Trader, said: ‘Lingering supply issues held back used car sales against an exceptional 2021 performance, but the market has great momentum and last month we saw a record 80 million visits to our site – nearly 10 million more than a year ago.
‘For most motorists, cars are a fundamental need, especially given the current public transport disruption.’
Dr Tony Tong, head of automotive at eBay UK, said the figures point to motorists keeping their cars for longer as their purse strings tighten and consumers look to cut costs.
‘Our latest research shows a growing number of Britons are prepared to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty by carrying out DIY jobs to fix their cars themselves, as well as opting for used parts over new.
‘According to our research, half (50 per cent) of UK consumers say they would change their car windscreen wipers themselves, while 37 per cent would replace interior and exterior light bulbs.’
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