The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed that the used car market in the UK experienced significant growth in 2023, with transactions reaching 7,242,692, marking a 5.1 per cent increase compared to the previous year. This growth trend, sustained over four consecutive quarters, resulted in 351,915 more motorists acquiring second-hand vehicles than in 2022.

According to the latest figures published by SMMT, superminis emerged as the most popular used car body type, constituting 32.1 per cent of sales, followed closely by lower medium segment cars at 26.6 per cent and dual-purpose vehicles at 15.2 per cent. Conversely, luxury saloons constituted a minor fraction of the market, representing only 0.5 per cent of transactions.

Gallery: Ford Fiesta 2022

The Ford Fiesta was last year's most popular car on the used car market with 308,017 registrations, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (237,705) and the Volkswagen Golf (227,427). The Ford Focus came fourth with 223,417 units, while the Vauxhall Astra was fifth with 160,736 registrations.

Most popular models on UK's used car market

A notable trend in the used car market was the surge in sales of used electric vehicles, which nearly doubled, witnessing a remarkable 90.9 per cent increase to reach a record 118,973 units sold. This surge reflects the growing demand for zero-emission vehicles, particularly in the more affordable price range. Sales of hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars also witnessed substantial growth, rising by 40.0 per cent and 25.1 per cent, respectively. Collectively, electrified vehicles accounted for 5.6 per cent of the market, up from 4.0 per cent last year.

Despite the rising popularity of electrified vehicles, diesel and petrol remained the dominant fuel types, constituting 94.3 per cent of the overall market, with a total of 6,827,466 units changing hands.

In terms of colour preferences, black emerged as the most popular choice among used car buyers, with over 1.5 million transactions (21.4 per cent) opting for this hue. Grey, on the other hand, saw an increase in popularity, surpassing blue to claim the second spot. Additionally, niche colour preferences were evident, with 4,870 buyers selecting pink cars, while 4,686 cream-coloured vehicles found new owners, and maroon represented 4,585 transactions.

Most popular used car colours in the UK (2023)