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Britain’s used car market reaches record levels in 2016

More than 8 million used cars were sold in 2016, up 7.3% and marking a new British record, latest SMMT figures show.


Ford Fiesta was once again Britain’s best-selling used car.

Rising demand was also seen in the fourth quarter, with 1.8 million used cars changing hands – up 5.5% and the biggest final quarter on record.

As with the new car market, smaller car demand showed no sign of slowing. Superminis were again the best-selling body type, accounting for more than a third of all used car sales whilst transactions of city cars grew 11.5%. However, it was SUVs that saw the fastest rise in popularity – up nearly 17% to take an 8.3% share of the market.

Growth registered across all fuel types but although petrol still led the used car market with more than 4.6 million traded, its market share fell slightly by -1.5%. Used AFV registrations rose 32.5%, while diesels increased 11.1% and petrol transactions grew 4.7%.

Britain’s best-selling used car remained the Ford Fiesta, closely followed by the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa. Meanwhile, silver remained the number one used car colour choice ahead of black and blue, while brown entered the top 10 in place of gold.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “On the back of a record 2016 for UK new car registrations, it’s further good news that our used car market is in such good health. Strong demand is testament to the quality, reliability and appeal of cars on sale today, with used buyers enjoying more choice, more low emission, safety and connected technology than ever. Providing economic conditions remain stable and interest rates low, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see growth in this sector continue in 2017.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.