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Demand for electric cars surges as used car market reaches record level

Growth in the used car market continued in the third quarter of 2016 with a record 2,148,050 vehicles sold and accelerated demand for ultra-low emission vehicles.

Row of red and grey cars

More than 2.1 million used cars sold in Q3 – a record for the period

The new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that overall used car demand last quarter grew 7.9% compared with Q3 2015 while YtD 6.3 million used cars have changed hands – up 7.9% on the same period in 2015.

Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles rose substantially in Q3 – up 34.1% (21,543) compared with the same period in 2015 (16,059) – while sales of electric vehicles grew 94.1%.

Diesel and petrol fuelled vehicles also enjoyed growth – up 10.8% and 5.7% respectively. Meanwhile, the trend towards smaller cars continued, with superminis the best-selling body type (33.8%) followed by family hatchbacks (27.4%) and saloons (13.4%).

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Sustained growth in the used car sector is great news for consumers, who have never enjoyed so much choice – whether in brand, body style or fuel type and the range of finance packages on offer makes them more affordable than ever. It’s particularly promising to see the growing demand for electric vehicles filter into the used car market but to encourage greater take-up, a more widespread commitment to charging infrastructure is needed.”

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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.