Electric vehicles drive used car sales

UK used car sales rose 5.1% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year, according to industry figures.

Some 1,774,351 transactions in the used-car market took place, up 86,596 from the corresponding figure in 2021, when pandemic shutdowns only allowed dealer click-and-collect services.

And figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed it was a record first quarter for used all-electric vehicle purchases.

The number of zero-emission used cars traded in more than doubled, from 6,625 to 14,586, an increase of 120.2%.

Used plug-in hybrids (PHEV) and hybrids (HEV) also saw sales increase by 35.3% to 14,433 and 28.8% to 35,007 units respectively.

Despite the growth, however, petrol and diesel powertrains continued to dominate the used market, accounting for 96.2% of sales – 1,707,135 vehicles.

City cars (32.6%) remained the most popular purchase, followed by lower mid-size cars (26.6%) and dual-purpose vehicles (14%).

SMMT boss Mike Hawes said: “With the new car market hampered by global supply shortages, growth in the used car sector is welcome.

“Electric car sales are driving the market, with zero-emission vehicles beginning to filter in greater numbers to consumers eager to drive the newest, greenest vehicles.”

A spokesperson for the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland added: “It is important that the used electric car market remains vibrant here and that drivers willing to make the switch to electric vehicles are given the opportunity to do so.

“Although the availability of new cars is temporarily reduced, the demand for electric vehicles is almost insatiable. So it’s encouraging to see dealerships across the country scrambling to supply used electric vehicles to fill the void.