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Demand increases for used hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars

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The UK’s used car market was stable in the first quarter, down just 0.6%, according to new figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It shows that more than two million transactions took place, with segment and powertrain trends seen at the end of last year continuing into 2019 and March, the busiest month of activity.

Demand for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars continued to grow, up 30.7%, with 32,272 models changing hands.

Of these alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), hybrids experienced the largest growth – up 34.2%, with pure electric rising 4.8% to 3,067 units. However, AFVs took just 1.6% of all transactions in Q1, with conventional petrol and diesel making up 98.3% of the market, the fuel types up 1.1% and down 3.6% respectively.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “Amid ongoing political and economic uncertainty, a stable used car market is good news for the automotive sector as it underpins crucial new car sales activity.

“Consumers are benefitting too, as more of the latest, safest and cleanest vehicles filter through to second owners.

“If we’re to accelerate this shift, and meet shared ambitions on air quality and climate change, a long-term government commitment to supporting take up of the latest technologies in the new car market will be essential.”

Reflecting trends in the new car market, superminis remained by far the most popular used buy, with 676,395 of these smaller cars finding new owners – an uplift of some 6,000 units on Q1 2018.

The dual purpose segment, meanwhile, enjoyed the largest growth, demand rising 6.1%.

Louise Wallis, head of the National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA), said: “It is encouraging that the overall used car market remained stable in the first quarter of 2019, with demand being boosted by supply issues with new cars due to Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure.

“The supply of used cars has been affected by less part-exchange and de-fleeted vehicles due to a lower volume of new car registrations. Generally consumers are seeing more value in buying used vehicles rather than new.

“Members are reporting buyout used car activity with plenty of consumer interest, which in turn means dealers needing to buy stock. We look forward to seeing what the second quarter brings.”

Black was the favourite colour choice ahead of silver/aluminium and blue, with pink the least popular of all despite a 27.1% rise in transactions, the largest uplift of any colour.

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