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UK used car market down 14.9% in 2020

By / 4 months ago / Latest News / No Comments

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.

Mike Jones, chairman of automotive business specialist ASE Global, will look at the state of the new and used car and van markets at the VRA AGM

A total of 6,752,959 used cars changed hands in 2020; down 14.9% or 1,182,146 units on 2019, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

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.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 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.