Used car sales soar amid easing of lockdown restrictions

Around 2.2 million used cars were bought between April and June.

Used car sales soar amid easing of lockdown restrictions iStock
Used cars: Sales soar amid restriction easing.

Used cars sales soared amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions and new car stock shortages, new figures show.

Some 2.2 million used cars were bought between April and June, industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

That is more than double the one million which changed hands during the same period last year, and up 6.6% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

It was the used car market’s best performance for that three-month period on record.

Petrol and diesel cars made up 96.4% of the used car market during the quarter.

Sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars tripled year on year, but the overall market share of plug-in cars was just 1.3%.

This lags behind the growth in sales of low-emission new cars.

A global shortage of semiconductor chips is limiting the number of new cars available for purchase.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “This is welcome news for the used car market as transactions rebounded following nationwide lockdowns which closed retailers.

“More motorists are turning to used cars as supply shortages continue to affect the new car market, and the increased need for personal mobility with people remaining wary of public transport as they return to work.

“A buoyant used car market is necessary to maintain strong residual values which, in turn, supports new car transactions.

“We now need to see a similar rebound in new car sales to accelerate the fleet renewal necessary to deliver immediate and continuous improvements in air quality and carbon emissions.”