Used electric cars boost second-hand sales

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Sales of used electric vehicles more than doubled from a year ago as the used car market benefited from the shortage of new cars

Used vehicle sales rose 5.2% in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year, but electric car trade more than doubled, rising 120% .

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Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 1.77 million used car sales took place between January and March 2022, 86,500 more than in the first quarter of 2021.

Latest figures from Auto Trader’s Monthly Used Price Index show used car prices were 32% higher in April 2022 than a year earlier, despite months of rapid price growth are now at a standstill.

The first quarter figures reflect the unusual state of sales last year. January and February figures were higher (17% and 7% respectively) as dealers were forced to close showrooms in early 2021, but March figures were down 7% as March 2021 has saw an increase in transactions as dealerships fully reopened.

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, commented: “The loss of the new car market has been the gain of the used market.

“The two factors that have combined to drive down new car sales are also driving the used market.

“The first is the lack of supply of new cars for sale. The number of new vehicles rolling off UK production lines in the first quarter of the year has collapsed by a third compared to the first quarter of 2021, and by many foreign factories are also producing far fewer cars than usual.

“On the other hand, used cars have an obvious advantage: availability.

“But there are signs that squeezing the cost of living is also helping to tip the balance in favor of used cars. Inflationary pressures and increasingly bleak economic news are causing many buyers to think carefully about the expensive purchases like cars.

He added that the potential savings between new and used cars is also driving interest in used electric vehicles as buyers consider environmental benefits and running costs in the face of soaring fuel costs.

Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car?, said the used car market would continue to benefit from supply problems in the new car chain, but warned that eventually this tight supply would also hit the sector used cars.

He commented, “With no end in sight for the semiconductor shortage in the new car market, the used car market is set for another strong quarter this year, although the latest SMMT figures suggest the market begins to stabilize.

“Second-hand buyers remain the most active in the market, according to our latest research. However, the used car fleet is intrinsically linked to the new car market, and delivery delays in new car sales, especially for electric vehicles, will mean things like the used electric vehicle market will not. is not growing at the rate it needs, which will present a problem for the sector in the years to come.

Experts warn that problems in the new car market will soon start to affect sales of new used models

Auto Trader’s Ian Plummer also warned that the used car market, particularly for newer models, would soon feel the pressure on the new car line.

He said: “If there are fewer new cars rolling off the production line, then of course there are fewer used cars for sale. Today’s figures underscore the point with a not inconsiderable drop in used car sales from pre-Covid levels. The ongoing supply chain crisis means fleet operators and leasing companies are hanging on to vehicles for much longer, further limiting the number of used cars entering the market.

He said while newer used cars – up to three years old – were the most vulnerable to this, sales of older models were stronger, reflecting a more plentiful supply of vehicles.

SMMT Managing Director Mike Hawes said: “With the new car market hampered by ongoing global supply shortages, growth in the used car market is welcome, even if it is not. surprising, especially since we were stuck last year.

“Electric car sales are driving the market, with zero-emission vehicles starting to arrive in greater numbers to consumers eager to drive the latest, greenest vehicles.

“While there is still some way to go before we see the recent growth of new electric vehicles replicated in the used market, a vibrant new car market will be essential to help drive fleet renewal, which is essential to achieve carbon savings.”

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