The firm’s newly published 2012 Used Car Market Report shows the market demonstrates resilience in choppy economic waters.
However, reflecting the economic backdrop, growth was slower last year and average values remained relatively flat, warns the BCA report.
Authored by Professor Peter Cooke from Buckingham University Centre for Automotive Management, the report suggests there will be changes ahead as the used car market deals with the effects of the second recession in four years.
Bespoke consumer research commissioned by BCA also shows how motorists are changing their buying habits as they deal with the continuing economic pressures.
According to the report, 6.7m used cars were sold last year for a combined value of £35.7bn – the highest value ever recorded. Average car values remained flat at £5,336.
More used car buyers were forced to turn to older used cars as supply issues continued to affect the wider used car market.
Sales of cars aged five years and under slipped back by 183,000 units last year. Dealers dominate in sales of these younger cars, but as supplies are under pressure they are increasingly focusing on cars aged six to eight years.
Sales of cars aged over nine years continued to rise, by 177,000 to over 2.5m units representing 37.8 per cent of the totals with private-to-private sales dominating in this sector.
Tony Gannon, BCA communications director, said: ‘The used car sector is now experiencing the full effect of the lower new car sales since the onset of the recession in 2008, and this is changing the dynamics of the marketplace.
‘The number of used cars aged nine years and over sold last year rose by 7.5 per cent while sales of cars aged under five years declined by 7.2 per cent. Older cars are increasingly becoming a fact of life for car dealers and used car buyers and will be going forward as supplies of younger used cars may well remain low for up to a decade.
‘With an ageing parc of vehicles and limited supplies of younger cars available, both dealers and motorists will have to get used to a marketplace where the typical used car is both older and higher mileage than has been the norm in previous years.’