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Used car prices soar as sales hit record high

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

The number of used car sales in the UK doubled between April and June, industry figures show.

Pent up demand from lockdown and supply challenges hitting the new car market meant more motorists turned to used models, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It said the UK’s used car market grew 108.6 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter, with more than 2.1 million vehicles changing hands.

That’s a 6.6 per cent increase on 2019’s pre-pandemic levels and marks the best second quarter performance ever for the used car market.

However, an increase in demand has led to prices soaring.

Seán Kemple, managing director of Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “We are seeing reports of used cars being sold for well over their recommended retail price, and in some cases, for significantly more than their brand-new counterparts.

“For buyers eager to get their hands on a new vehicle, they either face waiting times of up to 12 months for a brand-new model – or they can look to the second-hand market for a slightly different model to drive home sooner; but at a cost.”

According to the SMMT, the most popular used car models in July were the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Focus.

Demand for used battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles continued to grow but the plug-in used car market is not yet seeing the acceleration of uptake as has been seen in the new car market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “More motorists are turning to used cars as supply shortages continue to affect the new car market, and the increased need for personal mobility with people remaining wary of public transport as they return to work.

“A buoyant used car market is necessary to maintain strong residual values which, in turn, supports new car transactions.”

Figures published last week show new car sales had their weakest July since 1998, with just 123,296 new cars registered.