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Q1 2020 used car sales were stable before lockdown

NAMA 12/05/2020

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“Although Q1 2020 used car sales were down -8.3%, growth was seen in January and February before auctions were closed,” said Louise Wallis, Head of the National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA), commenting on the latest used car figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The used car market in Q1 2020 saw a fall of -8.3% in comparison to Q1 2019, with 1,851,919 transactions taking place. In Q1 2019, that figure was 2,020,144. However, in January and February, the market had grown by +2.9% and +4.0% respectively compared to their figures in 2019, showing the used car market had a strong start to the year. The COVID-19 outbreak, and subsequent halt of auction transactions however meant March sales fell -30.7%, causing the quarter overall to indicate a reduction of sales.

Plug-in electric vehicles saw a rise of +13.6% in Q1 2020, as more electric cars entered the market in the first few months of the year. Hybrid vehicles also saw a strong increase of +11.5%, with overall alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) transactions totalling 36,493. Petrol and diesel sales continued their downward trend, with decreases of -9.3% and -7.8% respectively as sales slowly move toward AFVs.

Superminis continued to be the most in-demand vehicles with 610,859 sold. The Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa were the two highest selling models, continuing their dominance as the best sellers of 2019.

Wallis continued, “Q1 2020 started strongly for auctions, and would likely have continued without the COVID-19 crisis.

“Auctions are now operating, although with reduced volumes to normal, which is giving much needed assistance to the market.

“We anticipate this volume to continue to rise over the coming months as the market gradually returns to more normal trading conditions as the lockdown starts to be lifted.

“Dealership reopening will be critical to kick start the used car market as they will need to buy stock for their forecourts to fulfil customer purchases and use auctions to dispose of any surplus part-exchange vehicles”.


About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.