The UK used car market saw sales grow 0.9% in Q3, following nine straight quarters of decline, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Some 18,925 more vehicles changed hands than in the same period in 2018, with July marking the strongest performance since May 2018.
Demand for diesel models was up 1.4% in the quarter with 858,442 changing hands, while petrol sales were flat with a slight drop of -0.2%. Plug-in electric and hybrid models showed a solid increase of 13.0%, totalling 37,589 units and increasing their share of sales to 1.8% from 1.6% in Q3 2018.
Superminis remained the most popular segment, reflecting the trend in the new car market, with 684,929 changing hands, accounting for 33% of transactions. The lower medium and upper medium segments were the next most popular, with 27% and 11.7% shares respectively. Meanwhile, the dual purpose segment showed the largest percentage growth (15.2%) with 11.6% market share.
The stronger Q3 performance wasn’t quite enough to offset declines in the previous two quarters, said the SMMT, with 51,785 fewer transactions in the first nine months of the year and the market down -0.8%. Despite the recent weaker demand, at 6,130,762 units, the market remains at a relatively high level.
“This growth, following a prolonged period of decline, is encouraging and it’s great to see a growing appetite for plug-in and hybrid models as they start to filter down to the used market,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.
“However, ongoing economic uncertainty and growing confusion over local clean air zones make it difficult to predict the future. To make meaningful environmental gains, we need to get more of the latest, lowest emitting cars on to our roads replacing older ones quickly – and that means delivering the right conditions and policies to give new and used buyers confidence to invest in the vehicles that best suit their driving needs and budgets.”