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Diesel used car demand stays strong but ULEV uptake soars

Demand for used diesel and ultra-low emission vehicles rose in Q1, with drivers showing particular interest in zero-emission vehicles.

Used cars

Bad weather and last year’s spike in sales prior to VED changes impacted on Q1 used car transactions

The data, taken from the DVLA and published by the SMMT, shows that a total of two million used cars were registered in the first three months of the year – although this was down 4.8% on Q1 2017, the figures need to be considered in the context of an extremely buoyant 2017 Q1, with April 2017’s VED changes driving sales to skyrocket in the first three months of the year, according to Close Brothers Motor Finance. The firm also said that the severe winter weather also seen in the quarter impacted on sales.

Demand for petrol engine cars fell 9.7%, as diesel registrations rose 2.0% and ultra-low emissions vehicle uptake grew 15.9% to 24,697 units. In particular, demand for electric cars rose 33.8% to 2,927 units, followed by hybrids, which rose 14.1% – these accounted for 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, said: “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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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.