Currently reading: Surge in popularity of used EVs and hybrids in new figures
SMMT figures show more than 2 million used cars changed hands during the third quarter of 2018
2 mins read
14 November 2018

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) show an increase in popularity of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, as ultra-low and zero-emissions cars begin to enter the second-hand market in greater numbers. 

Nearly 30,000 alternatively fuelled vehicles were sold over the past three months, 28.6% more than in the second quarter of 2018, while demand for electric cars rose by 8.3%.

Despite the significant gains made in the used low-emissions market, conventionally fuelled cars still accounted for 98% of all pre-owned sales, nearly 47.5% of which were diesel. The rise in the residual value of petrol and diesel cars, however, suggests that owners are keeping their cars for longer. 

Autocar used car buying guides

Superminis remain the most popular used buys, despite a 3.3% decline over the quarter, with 682,729 examples sold in the third quarter and more than two million in 2018 so far. There was also a 6.2% increase in the sale of dual-purpose vehicles, and 2.4% more executive cars changed hands. 

In the third quarter of 2018, a total of 2,057,457 pre-owned cars were sold in the UK, representing a 2.1% decline over the same period in 2017.

It was the busiest June on record for used car sales, although August posted the most sales in 2018 so far. In total, 6.1 million used cars have been purchased since the beginning of 2018.

Of cars sold in the third quarter, 431,000 were black, making this the most popular colour choice for the third quarter running. Silver and blue were second and third, while sales of orange cars rose by 9.9% and 17.1% less green cars found new homes. 

The SMMT's announcement follows the recent news that the Government will cease to offer financial incentives to buyers of plug-in hybrids. This represents the eradication of a significant incentive for would-be buyers of new low-emissions cars.

As manufacturers wind down production of diesel vehicles, buyers are turning to petrol rather than rarer and less affordable alternatively fuelled options. 

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The right policies and incentives from government are needed to encourage new car buyers to take up the latest, cleanest petrol, diesel and electric models that best suit their driving needs. This would be the best way for these advanced technologies to filter through to the used market, helping to accelerate fleet renewal to improve air quality and meet climate change goals.”

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Boris9119 14 November 2018

Another Journalist Filler Piece?

Agree with the aforementioned comments, nothing here of note. Yes you Brits will soon all be forced to drive electro/hybrid automobiles, but no it's not happening yet. Maybe if Brexit finally gets honoured you will have the chance to chart your own destiny? Enoch was somehwt right?

scotty5 15 November 2018

Keep politics out of it.

Boris9119 wrote:

Enoch was somehwt right?

No, he was an ignorant ar5e. Often misquoted and stood up as a hero by racists and those who're anti-immigration, the irony being he himself left the UK to work abroad.

Brianalf 14 November 2018

Percentage of all cars sold

The best way to look at the change in car sale is to look at the rise or fall based on the percentage of car type sold compared to last year

Pure electricity  up 13.37 % on last year

Plugin hybrid up 35.37  % on last year 

Petrol hybrid up 23.63 % on last year

Diesal hybrid down 79.4 % on last year

Petrol and diesal only down 1.23 % on last yeat 

LP in Brighton 14 November 2018


Well there was a time when the original GM EV1 went straight from the production line to the crusher without ever troubling the customer! So the fact that EVs are now being sold - and again to used car buyers - is I guess some sort of progress.

But as has been said, it's the actual transaction prices that count and ultimately will determine if EVs are successful. My gut feeling is that matters are improving, but it would be good to see some actual stats...