Used car sales soar as the new car market struggles to meet demand | Industry - Car News Aug 2021

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11:15 Tuesday 07 Sep 2021

High demand and a shortage of new models have seen sales of used cars more than double during the second quarter of 2021 as a shortage of spare parts continues to drive long waiting times for new vehicles.

The used car market is booming, according to the latest industry figures. Second-hand car sales grew by 108.6 per cent between 1 April and 30 June, according to the latest year-on-year figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with 2,167,504 vehicles changing hands.

Soaring used car sales are being linked to a UK-wide shortage of new vehicles, caused by a lack of parts and semiconductors that has stalled the supply of new cars and vans across Europe.

As a result, car owners looking to sell their vehicles could be set for a surprise, with their car being worth more than they are expecting as the shortage of cars starts to push up demand and part-exchange values for second-hand vehicles. 

“These are unprecedented times for the motoring industry, when there is ‘gold on the driveway’ for car owners. In June, the Office for National Statistics put the level of car inflation at 4.4 per cent and it’s not slowing down," says Karen Hilton, Chief Commercial Officer at heycar.

According to Hilton, car owners are looking to cash in on this spell of increased buying power with heycar seeing a surge in part exchanges - jumping from around five per cent of activity to 40 per cent in the space of a fortnight.

“Our data shows that between the first and second quarters of 2021, the average price of used cars shot up by 3.8 per cent and the SMMT reports the industry has seen increased demand for older models."

The SMMT says the used market is up 6.6 per cent on 2019 Q2 pre-pandemic levels, the best performance and almost the best quarter on record for the used car market. 

Demand for petrol and diesel made up 96.4 per cent of the used car market at 2,090,396 units, with hybrid and plug-in vehicles making up the remainder. In addition, increased demand overall has led to an increase in sales of older used cars with only 12.7 per cent of all vehicles sold being three years or under, the lowest on record.

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