Used car sales hit five-year high, as EVs grow in popularity – SMMT figures

  • Strongest start to a year for five years, says SMMT
  • Electric cars are fastest growing powertrain in the used market
  • Ford Fiesta was the most popular used car in Q1

Time 7:55 am, May 9, 2024

The used car market has had the strongest start to a year since 2019, new data shows.

Used car transactions rose by 6.5% with 1,967,923 second-hand cars shifted in the first quarter of 2024, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said.

It’s the 16th month of consecutive growth, which the SMMT said reflects recovering supply in the new car market which is in turn improving availability and choice of second-hand vehicles.

Increasing numbers of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are now entering the used sector, with sales in recent months up by more than two-thirds to 41,505, the figures revealed. The body said BEVs are the fastest-growing powertrain in the used market.

Hybrids also continued to sell in greater volumes, with 74,502 changing hands in a 49.3% rise. Plug-in hybrids, too, grew in popularity, with sales up 42.5% to 22,065.

Superminis remained the most popular type of used car in the first quarter of 2024, with the Ford Fiesta topping the overall top ten with 80,814 sales, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (66,821) and Ford’s Focus (60,058).

Black was the most popular colour for used cars overall, followed by grey and blue.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘A reinvigorated new car market is delivering more choice and affordability for used car buyers and, increasingly, they are choosing to go electric.

‘To enable even more drivers to enjoy the benefits of zero emission motoring, ensuring both supply and demand remains robust is essential.

‘Incentivising new EV uptake and investing in a chargepoint network that is accessible, available and affordable to all will drive the nation’s net zero transition.’

Auto Trader’s Ian Plummer said: ‘Based on what we’re seeing, the market’s carried some real momentum into Q2, with average sales up over 6% in April.

‘The months ahead may hold some challenges, not least the ongoing squeeze in supply, as well as a turbulent economic and political backdrop, but I’ve every confidence the used car market will continue to demonstrate its huge resilience.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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