UK used car market down 14.9% in 2020
Used car transactions fell to their lowest level since 2012 as a result of the coronavirus lockdowns in 2020, prompting a call for showrooms to reopen.
A total of 6,752,959 used cars changed hands last year; down 14.9% or 1,182,146 units on 2019, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Although transactions increased 3.7% in October, it wasn’t enough to counter the declines of 18.3% and 4.2% in November and December. Combined Q4 transactions fell by -6.2% to 1,693,138, rounding off a tough year for the sector.
Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) bucked the trend, however, with 144,225 of these models sold during the year, an increase of 5.2%. This led to an increase in market share, which rose to 2.1%.
Transactions of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) increased by 29.7% to 19,184 units, but still only accounted for a fraction of all activity at 0.3%.
The market for hybrids (HEVs) also rose, by 4.7%, while demand for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) fell by 5.0%.
Used diesel and petrol car transactions also fell, by 15.5% and 15.2% respectively
All used car segments experienced declines, but superminis remained the most popular choice with 2.2 million units purchased, accounting for 32.0% of all transactions. Lower medium cars were the next most traded segment, with 1.8 million sales to take 27.0% market share.
Black was number one in the colour charts, with just over 1.4 million models in the shade changing hands with silver and blue completing the podium line-up. Grey, which was the top selling new car colour in 2020, fell to fourth place.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The priority now must be to allow car showrooms to re-open as soon as restrictions are eased. This will not only help the used market recover, supporting jobs and livelihoods and providing individuals with the personal mobility they need at a time when guidance is against using public or shared transport, but it will also enable the latest and cleanest vehicles to filter through to second owners and keep society moving.”