Second-hand car sales hit record level
SALES of second-hand cars in Britain and Northern Ireland reached a record high last year.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 8.2 million used cars were sold in 2016 - up 7.3 per cent on the previous year.
And the industry body claimed there is no reason why demand should drop off in 2017 as long as economic conditions remain stable.
Petrol cars were the most popular with more than 4.6 million traded, up 4.7 per cent, although their market share fell by 1.5 per cent.
The shift in new car sales to diesel over the past decade was reflected with demand for second-hand diesel cars up 11.1 per cent.
Used alternatively-fuelled vehicle sales rose 32.5 per cent.
The Ford Fiesta was the biggest selling model overall (381,519 cars sold), followed by the Ford Focus (374,590) and Vauxhall Corsa (352,899).
Figures released in January show that new car sales also reached an all-time high last year at 2.69 million.
Colin McNab, operations director the Charles Hurst dealership, said the figures underline high consumer demand for cars in Northern Ireland, where interest in nearly-new and used cars is well ahead of last year.
He said: “It’s important to point out that it is new car sales which helps to provide a steady stream of high-quality used and nearly new stock when these vehicles become available, which is the result of affordable and flexible financing options, including personal contract purchase.
"These cars are well-maintained with a full service history and relatively low mileage so they’re very attractive to those interested in buying a used car.
“For many people, it’s quite normal to ‘trade up’ to another nearly new or used car and this remains a significant part of the Northern Ireland market.
"Stock levels of used cars are good following years of strong new car sales, which means there is strong value and enhanced reliability to be had across a range of models.”
Nearly new cars between one and three years old are the biggest sellers at the moment, with the wide array of financing options and choice encouraging people to replace their cars more regularly.
“With such good stock in supply, local consumers are now able to invest in a nearly-new car as and when they feel the need, rather than having to spend months waiting for the right one to come along," McNabb added.