Business

Second-hand car sales hit record level in first half

Second-hand car Image copyright PA

The number of second-hand cars sold in the UK has reached its highest level yet.

Just over 4.18 million vehicles were sold in the first half of the year.

That was an 8% increase on second-hand sales in the first half of 2015, and the first time that any half-year sales have risen above the four million mark.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the increase mirrored the rising number of new cars sold in the past few years.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: "The UK's used car market is at its strongest ever."

"The growth in the used car market has reflected the record demand for new cars in recent years, but future growth in high-cost purchases will depend on stable consumer and business confidence," he added.

Outstripping

Car sales are widely seen as a key indicator of economic activity and consumers' willingness to spend money.

The half-year rise in second-hand sales was far in excess of the growth of the wider economy, or of people's incomes.

It was also higher than the 3% rise in first-half sales of new cars.

The trade body's figures show that in the first five years following the 2008 financial crisis, and the subsequent economic recession, second-hand car sales fell sharply, and then stood still.

At one point the government had to bring in a scrappage scheme to encourage people to continue buying new cars, and to stop the industry from potential collapse.

Since then new car sales have revived strongly, hitting a new record high in 2015, and for the past three years second-hand sales have been picking up too.

The SMMT said that the most popular second-hand cars were those between one and three-years old, super-minis, and small family cars.

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