REFLECTING an increase in supply, demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) doubled in the last quarter, reaching a record market share as volumes rose by 99.9% to 34,021 units.
The boost now means BEVs represent 1.8% of the used market, up from 1.0% last year. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and hybrids (HEVs) also grew, up 34.6%, and 46.4% respectively – resulting in combined plug-ins increasing by 70.9% to comprise 2.8% of the market. Volumes for petrol and diesel cars, meanwhile, grew by 4.0% to 1,065,448 and 2.3% to 704,204 units respectively.
The UK’s used car market grew by 5.5% during the third quarter, with 1,884,160 units changing hands, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The used car market continues to grow strongly, with re-energised supply unlocking demand for pre-owned electric vehicles – the result being twice as many motorists switching to zero emission motoring in the quarter. Maintaining this momentum requires growth in the new car market, to boost supply to the used sector and cement this success. Equally important is the urgent need for charging infrastructure rollout, so that all drivers can have confidence in being able to charge whenever and wherever they need.
Mark Oakley, Director of AA Cars, added: “The used car market is on the road to recovery and steadily picking up speed. Last year’s 8.5% drop in used sales is now firmly in the rear view mirror, with sales increasing in every quarter of 2023 so far.
“The strength of these latest SMMT figures is a testament to the enduring appeal of second-hand cars when economic times are tough. With household budgets being simultaneously squeezed by high interest rates and the rising cost of living, many drivers who need to replace their car are opting for the value of a used model.
“We’re seeing this increased demand first-hand at AA Cars, with the number of searches made for used cars on our platform in Q3 2023 up 13% compared to the same period last year.
“Improving supply is helping prices settle too. Earlier this week the SMMT confirmed that new car sales have increased for an incredible 15 months in a row, and in many cases these cars were bought to replace an older model – meaning more second-hand models have made their way onto dealer forecourts.
“However buyer demand is still outstripping the supply of several of the most affordable models, especially ULEZ-compliant superminis like the Toyota Aygo and Fiat 500.
“This imbalance means average second-hand prices of some popular small cars are still rising, and a recent analysis of cars for sale on AA Cars found that a typical used Toyota Aygo bought in August 2021 is now worth 16% more, despite being two years older.
“Electric vehicles – though still only accounting for a small percentage of used sales overall – are increasingly making their presence felt as thousands of nearly new models came onto the market and sales doubled over the quarter.”
Matas Buzelis, car expert at carVertical said that sales of used EVs have doubled as drivers increasingly opt for greener vehicles which will future-proof them for the introduction of more clean air zones around the country.
“This bodes well for the future, as it suggests drivers have fewer concerns about battery life and EVs depreciating in value, and are increasingly willing to buy an electric car second hand.”