Used car market down in 2022 but electrics buck trend

Tom Barnard

10 Feb 2023

The UK’s used car market declined in 2022, down 8.5% to 6,890,777 transactions, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The performance saw 640,179 fewer vehicles changing hands than in 2021, and remains 13.2% lower than 2019’s pre-pandemic total, as the squeeze on new car supply restricted stock entering the second-hand market.

Used battery electric vehicle transactions bucked the overall trend, recording their best-ever annual performance with a record 71,071 units finding new owners in 2022, a rise of 37.5%, and boosting their overall market share to 1.0%, from 0.7% in 2021.

Robust demand for other alternatively fuelled vehicles continued, too, with sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) rising 8.6% and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEVs) transactions up 3.6%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “While the market headlines are negative, and reflective of the squeeze on new car supply last year, record electrified vehicle uptake is a bright spot and demonstrates a growing appetite for these models. With new car registrations growth expected this year, more of the latest low and zero emission models should become available to second owners.

“Accelerating uptake is key and will be dependent on drivers being assured of a positive ownership experience. This means ensuring charging infrastructure keeps pace with demand as more new and used car buyers make the switch to zero emission motoring than ever before.”

Bright spots were missing from used buyers’ colour choices though. Black proved to be the most popular colour for the year, accounting for a fifth (21.6%) of the market. Blue ranked second, with 16.4% share, and, despite grey topping the new car market, it ranked third for used cars at 16.3% market share. Some buyers opted to add a splash of colour to their journeys, with 4,461 pink, 6,708 turquoise and 18,658 bronze used vehicle transactions during the year.


Browse Used Electric Cars Used Electric Car Buying Guide

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