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Used car market remains strong

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More than 2 million used cars changed hands in quarter one, a -4.8% decline but still the third highest Q1 level on record, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 2,031,661 vehicles changed hands, a -4.8% (-102,295 units) year-on-year decline compared with Q1 2017.

Demand for petrol engine cars fell -9.7%, as diesel registrations rose 2.0% and interest in alternatively fuelled vehicles grew 15.9%, with some 24,697 hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars finding a new owner.

Zero emission electric cars had a surge in popularity, with demand rising 33.8% to 2,927 units, followed by hybrids, which rose 14.1%. Together they represented 1.2% of all used car transactions in the quarter, while petrol fuelled models took a 55.9% market share and diesel 42.8%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, says, “Despite the overall decline in demand, the UK’s used car sector remains at a very high level and it’s great to see millions of consumers benefitting from some of the latest, safest and cleanest models now filtering into the market. To maintain this choice and make the fastest possible improvements to air quality, we need stability in the new car market. That means giving consumers confidence to trade in their older cars for the best new, low emission model to suit their needs – whatever the fuel type.”

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