Sales of used diesels rise despite overall decline in second-hand car market

Used diesel car sales rise despite market turndown

A 3.2% increase in diesel sales suggests shrewd used car buyers are taking advantage of recent uncertainty over the future of oilburners

Diesel sales on the used car market increased by 3.2% in the second quarter of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017. Despite the negative image cultivated by the mainstream media, second-hand oilburners bucked an overall drop of 0.4% in the market, with nearly 8000 fewer cars changing hands in the three months from April to June.

Sales of used petrol cars fell by 3.3% over the same period, while sales of hybrid, electric and hydrogen cars reflected the new car market by recording 25.3% growth over the second quarter of 2017.

Despite the new car market turning its back on diesels, values of second-hand variants haven’t dropped, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

SMMT boss Mike Hawes said: “Motorists take advantage of the exciting high-tech models filtering down from the new sector – including some of the latest low-emissions diesel and alternatively fuelled vehicles. However, with used sales so closely reflecting the new car market, some cooling is expected over the coming months.”

With CO2 figures set to rise considerably as a consequence of the backlash against diesel and the market’s subsequent move towards petrol cars, combined with the relatively slow uptake of hybrid and electric cars, Hawes warned that air quality may bear the brunt of buyers’ decisions: “Given fleet renewal is the fastest way to improve air quality and reduce CO2, we need greater business and consumer confidence to keep both markets moving.”

Despite the small dip in used car sales, more than two million of them changed hands between the start of April and the end of June this year. 

The large percentage rise in electrified sales represents 5417 cars, suggesting that used buyers are even happier to embrace lower-emissions cars than new car buyers, with demand growing only 23.8% across the year so far for new hybrid, hydrogen and electric cars. Almost 101,000 new alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) have been registered this year. 

B-segment hatchbacks remain the used market’s car of choice, with five superminis in the top ten used cars. The Ford Fiesta, the UK’s best-selling new car, is also the most popular used buy. 

C-segment hatchbacks like the Ford Focus remain strong in demand, with the Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra in second, fourth and fifth places respectively.

Conventional hatchbacks are the prevailing dominant body style in the used market, although growing SUV sales means the trend for higher-riding vehicles will almost certainly trickle down to the used market in months to come.

The most popular premium cars on the used market are the BMW 3 Series and Audi A3, despite Mercedes’ rivals to both cars – the C-Class and A-Class – being far more popular on the new car market. 

Read more: 

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Eight affordable used cars set to appreciate

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Source: Autocar Online

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