21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Used car sales decline but EVs see increase

Ongoing parts supply issues afflicting the new car market had a knock-on effect on used car sales in 2022, as restricted supply entering the second hand sector led to sales falling by 8.5% during the year according to the latest figures from the SMMT, although EV sales continued to climb.

6,890,777 used cars were sold during the year, 640,179 less than during 2021. 2022’s total was also 13.2% below pre-pandemic 2019. 71,071 used battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were sold over the 12-month period, 37.5% up on 2021, which took their market share to 1.0%, from 0.7% in 2021. Meanwhile, hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) sales increased by 8.6% and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEVs) were up 3.6%.Overall, electrified vehicles made up 4.1% of the total, up from 3.3% in 2021. Used diesel car sales dropped by 11.8%, and petrol by 7.7%.

Commenting on the figures, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes 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.”

NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson observed: “Used cars remain an extremely important segment of the UK car market. Looking ahead, used car values will remain strong whilst supply side issues on new vehicles are prevalent. We also expect the BEV section of the market to continue to rapidly grow as more models enter production.”

Andy Hamilton, CEO at LKQ Euro Car Parts, said: “While the backlog on new vehicle production lines initially benefited the used vehicle market, it was inevitable that eventually, the shortage of new cars hitting the roads would catch up with used transactions. But the key takeaway from the data isn’t the size of the market; it’s the make-up. Appetite for the latest low and zero emission cars is growing among Britain’s used car buyers – and they’ll be looking to the independent aftermarket when it’s time to service them.

“That’s why we’re helping garages and bodyshops to future-proof their operations through investment in training and equipment, while optimising our product ranges to cater for all vehicle types. We’re passionate about protecting the livelihoods the independent aftermarket supports, and the vital service it provides to businesses and consumers across the UK.

“A £2,000 one-off cost can equip one technician with all the training, tools and equipment that’s needed to work on hybrids and EVs. With an average EV or hybrid service typically costing £300, garages can quickly generate a significant return on that investment.”

AA Cars Director Mark Oakley added: “With fewer nearly new cars making their way onto the second-hand market for much of 2022, dealers simply didn’t have as much stock to sell. In addition, the weakening economy put the brakes on demand. Double-digit inflation squeezed disposable incomes and made some would-be buyers reluctant to commit to big ticket purchases like a car. While the second-hand car market typically performs better than the new car market when times are tough – thanks to the wide choice and compelling value it offers – rising interest rates and darkening economic clouds have pegged back demand.

“One bright spot is the jump in the number of Electric Vehicles coming onto the used market for the first time. High petrol and diesel prices have prompted thousands of drivers to consider going electric; and with brand new electric models still costing significantly more than conventionally fuelled rivals, greater availability of second-hand EVs should give the used market a welcome boost in coming months.”