Technical error blamed as SMMT lowers figures for 2022’s used electric and plug-in hybrid sales

  • Data for sales of second-hand electric and plug-in vehicles in 2022 is revised downwards
  • Figure for used electric cars was 62,338 not 71,071, says SMMT
  • Used plug-in hybrid figure slips from 55,053 to 53,919
  • But figures for second-hand petrol, diesel and hybrids all go up
  • Industry body blames one-off technical error

Time 1:02 pm, February 14, 2024

The SMMT has republished its used car sales data for 2022 showing a big decrease in the number of electric vehicles that changed hands than originally stated.

Last February, it issued a release saying that 71,071 second-hand electric cars were sold. However, that figure was today changed to 62,338 – 12.3% fewer.

In addition, the figure for used plug-in hybrids was altered from 55,053 to 53,919 – a drop of 2.1%.

Car Dealer raised the lower figures with the SMMT after being alerted to them by a reader and an SMMT spokesman told us today that a technical error was to blame.

‘Used car data, sourced from DVLA and processed by SMMT, is periodically checked to account for any potential additional information made available, and this can very occasionally result in revisions to previously published data,’ said the spokesman.

‘Typically, if such revisions occur, they are rarely significant. In this instance, a one-off technical error occurred last year in the processing of powertrain data for Q4 2022 used car sales, creating discrepancies, and has subsequently been corrected.

‘This does not, therefore, affect the accuracy of our latest used car sales figures publication.’

Last week, Car Dealer reported SMMT figures showing used car sales topped 7m in 2023, with used electric car sales rising by 90.9% to a record 118,973 units.

Originally, the SMMT said used EV sales for the last quarter of 2022 were 22,928 but the trade body confirmed to Car Dealer today that the figure was actually 13,941 – 39% lower.

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Conversely, though, sales of second-hand petrol, diesel and hybrid cars in 2022 have been revised UP from 3,903, 587; 2,691,293 and 155,055 to 3,917,912; 2,696,035 and 158,440, respectively.

The release with the data for 2022 was originally published on February 10, 2023 and was temporarily removed from the SMMT’s website but it has now been reinstated with the revised figures.

It also has a footnote stating: ‘Used car data is subject to periodical revision and is based on anonymised data from DVLA, and processed by SMMT. This release was updated to reflect revisions in February 2024.’

Meanwhile, last week’s release with the 2023 data, published on February 8, now states: ‘Please note that this release references revised data for used car sales in 2022.’

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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