Demand for zero-emission vehicles soars but used car market sees decline

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Sales of used vehicles exceeded two million in the first three months of the year but the market is still down


Driver interest in alternatively fuelled used cars has grown during the first quarter of this year, according to figures out today from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The used car market saw sales in the first three months of 2018 passing the two million mark. However, that was still a 4.8 per cent decline compared with the same period last year.

However, the biggest growth came in the alternatively fuelled segment. Demand for zero-emission electric vehicles rose by 33.8 per cent to 2,927 units. Overall, some 24,697 hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles were snapped up by buyers – a 15.9 per cent rise in interest in the alternative fuel sector.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Despite the overall decline in demand, the UK’s used car sector remains at a very high level and it’s great to see millions of consumers benefiting from some of the latest, safest and cleanest models now filtering into the market.

“To maintain this choice and make the fastest possible improvements to air quality, we need stability in the new car market. That means giving consumers confidence to trade in their older cars for the best new, low-emission model to suit their needs – whatever the fuel type.”

Superminis continued to be the most popular body style in the used market. The Ford Fiesta topped the list of the most popular used models in the first quarter of 2018, followed in second and third place by the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa respectively.

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