Used cars sales in the third quarter of 2019 were up compared with the same period last year, according to new figures released by industry body the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The latest data shows that pre-owned sales were up by 0.9% between July and September – with 2,076,382 cars sold in that time. That’s up from 2,057,457 in 2018.
However, the year-to-date figures show used car sales are down 0.8% at 6,130,762 – compared with 6,182,547 after the first 9 months of 2018.
The SMMT’s figures showed that used diesel sales were up by 1.4% in the last quarter, while plug-in options – both all-electric and hybrid – had a 13% boost, with 37,589 used plug-ins sold in Q3. Petrol models saw a small slump of 0.2%.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “This growth, following a prolonged period of decline, is encouraging and it’s great to see a growing appetite for plug-in and hybrid models as they start to filter down to the used market. However, ongoing economic uncertainty and growing confusion over local clean air zones make it difficult to predict the future.
“To make meaningful environmental gains, we need to get more of the latest, lowest emitting cars on to our roads replacing older ones quickly – and that means delivering the right conditions and policies to give new and used buyers confidence to invest in the vehicles that best suit their driving needs and budgets.”
As with the new car market, the Ford Fiesta dominated with 90,428 used sales. It was followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (77,101) and Ford Focus (75,093) to round out the top 3.
Comment by AA Cars:
“The new car market’s loss is proving the used market’s gain.
“As new car sales shrink, these robust used sales figures show many buyers are being strategic, and are seizing on the wide range – and quality – of second-hand cars currently for sale.
“Supply is healthy and prices are often very competitive, with many dealer forecourts bristling with nearly-new models – which can offer strong value and are proving particularly popular.
“New research from AA Cars confirms this picture, revealing that 74% of motorists said the last car they purchased was a used vehicle. Meanwhile, only 26% of respondents opted for a brand new car.
“Dealerships which remain agile in their sourcing of stock and provide versatile solutions online, and on the forecourts, will be the best placed to thrive if the current flurry of customer activity eases.
“But with competition intense and margins under pressure, dealers who are able to reassure customers of the quality of their stock – for instance by signing up to a quality standard like the AA Cars approved scheme – should continue to enjoy a decisive difference, as customer confidence is key in the current environment.”