The UK’s used car market grew by 11.5% to 7,530,956 transactions in 2021, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The news rounds off a strange year for the used car market, with transactions falling by -3.1% to just over 1.6 million in Q4 of 2021. Supply of stock in the used market was squeezed by semiconductor shortages impacting new car sales while COVID restrictions increased due to a rise in the Omicron variant.
This is compared with the second quarter of 2021 which was the best Q2 on record: 2.1 million transactions occurred in the three-month period. May was the highpoint with 769,782 used cars finding new keepers as the UK emerged from the second lockdown.
Annual demand for battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) hit record levels, growing by 119.2% and 75.6% to 40,228 and 56,861 transactions respectively.
Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) transactions also grew by 50.3% to 137,639. This new high was driven by an increasing number of ultra-low and zero-emission models filtering through to second owners to represent 3.1% of the market.
Used petrol and diesel vehicle transactions increased by 10.7% and 9.8% respectively, with a combined 7,277,291 units changing hands. It meant that, even with record demand for alternatively fueled vehicles, 96.6% of all used car sales were still either petrol or diesel models.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented: “With the global shortage of semiconductors set to ease later this year, releasing the squeeze on new car supply, we expect more of the latest, cleanest and zero emission models to become available for second owners.”