UK car market grows 5.1% in first quarter of 2022

UK car market grows 5.1% in first quarter of 2022

According to new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK’s used car market increased 5.1% in the first quarter of 2022.

The SMMT data showed that 1,774,351 transactions took place, with 86,596 additional cars changing hands compared with the same period in 2021, when car showrooms nationwide were closed due to pandemic-related lockdowns with only click and collect transactions allowed.

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Despite the global shortage of semiconductors stifling supply in the new car market, used car sales in the quarter were driven by a buoyant market in January and February, with rises of 17.7% and 7.4% respectively.

However, March saw a decline of 6.8%, following a stronger performing month in 2021 as the pandemic-affected market began to recover.

Although the strong levels of growth this year, used car purchases remain 12.2% below the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

In Q1, transactions for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) more than doubled from 6,625 to 14,586, a rise of 120.2%.

In the same time period, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and hybrids (HEVs) also changed hands in greater numbers than the year before rising by 35.3% to 14,433, and 28.8% to 35,007 units respectively.

However, petrol and diesel powertrains continued to dominate the used market representing 96.2% of used sales (1,707,135 units).

Plug-in vehicles comprised 3.6% of the total market share – up from 1.6% in Q1 2021, but illustrating that the growth in new EVs over the past two years has yet to have a significant impact on the overall market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “With the new car market hampered by ongoing global supply shortages, growth in the used car market is welcome, if unsurprising especially given we were in lockdown last year.

“Electric car sales are energising the market, with zero emission vehicles starting to filter through in larger numbers to consumers looking forward to driving the latest and greenest vehicles. Although there is some way to go before, we see the recent growth in new EVs replicated in the used market, a buoyant new car market will be vital to help drive fleet renewal which is essential to the delivery of carbon savings.”

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