Used car market remains strong, uncertainty looms

The UK used car market has remained buoyant in 2017, with a decline of just 1.1% year-on-year and 8.1 million cars changing hands.

The apparent stability of the entire year was marked by a sharp 5.1% decline in the fourth quarter, in line with the 5.7% drop in new car sales throughout the year.

The results of the last quarter could be a prediction of things to come; the used car market is usually a few months behind the new market and respond to new trends and changes. Automotive analyst Cap HPI has registered a decline in used car values by 1.1% in the month of December, which indicates a greater stability of the market; values declined by 1.6% last December.

Cap HPI Black Book senior editor James Craig said: “Historically, the used car business begins to improve, after the period of Christmas and the values begin to strengthen. The used car market is likely to increase in volume due to the historic levels of new car registrations, but, with the decline in new car volume, this should have a stabilising effect.”

Used car operations diesel rose by 3.3% over the 2016, indicating both the passion of the owners for them, but also have a prevalence of buyers willing to take them on.

Used electric vehicles sales exceeded 10,000 for the first time – a 77.1% increase in 2016, while the alternatively fueled vehicle market grew 21.3% of the total.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes warned that things may not stay so cheerful without the proper procedure on the part of the authorities. “While so healthy, the question is reassuring, to keep it that way, and to accelerate the renewal of the whole fleet, the fastest way to improve the quality of air – the government now needs to restore confidence to the new car industry,” he said.

“Given the recent economic crisis and the uncertainty of taxation, in particular compared to diesel, consumers and businesses need clarity, to encourage them to move out of their older vehicles and more recent, more low-emission cars of any fuel type.”

Despite the uncertainties, these figures are the second best annual result recorded for the used car market, with 2016 marking the highest point on record. Sedans retained their dominant position, with the Ford Fiesta, mirroring his top-selling new cars position on the used market, while the Ford Focus was second and the Vauxhall Corsa third. Six of the top 10 best-selling used car of the year last year they were superminis.

Also the mirroring of the new car market, Suvs are rapidly growing segment, with a 9.5% jump in demand for the models. Executive cars remained stable year-on-year, while all other segments declined.

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