Life

Used car sales grow in 2023 as 7.2 million change hands

Demand for secondhand electric cars also increased

Used car sales boomed in 2023. (Blackball Media)
Used cars at Big Motoring World, Enfield Used car sales boomed in 2023. (Blackball Media)

The number of used cars sold increased by 5.1 per cent in 2023, with some 7.2 million models changing hands.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which has released its annual used car data today, growth in every quarter of the year saw 351,915 more motorists choose a secondhand car compared to 2022. The trade body says this is down to the ‘previous year’s supply constraints receding, delivering more choice to buyers’.

Though Ford might have ended production of its Fiesta in the middle of 2023, that didn’t stop used buyers from choosing this supermini, with 308,017 examples changing hands. The second most popular used car was the Vauxhall Corsa (237,705) and Volkswagen Golf (227,427). Rounding off the top five were the Ford Focus (223,417) and Vauxhall Astra (160,736).

Despite being discontinued in 2023, the Fiesta remained by far the most popular used car last year. (Ford)
Despite being discontinued in 2023, the Fiesta remained by far the most popular used car last year. (Ford) Despite being discontinued in 2023, the Fiesta remained by far the most popular used car last year. (Ford) (Charlie Magee)

The other big news was the growth in used electric car registrations, which increased by more than 90 per cent to 118,972 units, representing a 1.6 per cent share of the market – up from 0.9 per cent a year earlier.

While sales of used hybrids and plug-in hybrid models increased by 40 and 25.1 per cent respectively, petrol and diesel remain by far the most dominant when it comes to secondhand cars, accounting for a combined 94.3 per cent share of the market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “A healthy new car market is key to driving choice in the used sector and it’s great to see record numbers of second and third owners benefitting from the growing availability of electric vehicles.

“The demand is there, but to sustain it we must enable every motorist to make the switch. The upcoming Budget is a prime opportunity for the government to do just that – halving VAT on new EVs, while making public charging as easy and affordable as plugging in at home, would ensure a faster and fairer transition for all, giving the UK a green economic boost.”