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Used car sales fell by 9% in 2022

Close to seven million used cars changed hands in the UK last year, the best-selling used model being the ever-popular Ford Fiesta

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Close to seven million used cars changed hands in the UK last year, over 600,000 less than the year prior, as the used car market shrank by 9%.

According to the latest data published this week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the used car market is also still 13% smaller than pre-pandemic 2019, as the squeeze on new car supply – primarily due to the global shortage of semiconductors – restricted stock entering the second-hand market.

Used sales did improve towards the end of the year however, as easing supply restrictions led to more vehicles entering used car stock.

UK used car sales 2021UK used car sales 2022% change
7,530,9566,890,777-9%

Despite the decline, used electric cars (EVs) bucked the overall trend. Over 71,000 used EVs found new owners in 2022, an annual record, and a rise of 38% when compared to 2021’s total.

That said, EVs still only account for 4% of all used car sales – petrol and diesel engines are still by far the most common choice. Plug-in hybrid models (PHEVs) also account for around 4% of the used car market.

The supermini was 2022’s most popular used body style, followed by medium-sized family cars. While Ford struggles to meet the consistent demand for its compact Fiesta on the new car market, the supermini continues to lead the used car market as 2022’s best-seller.

The best-selling used cars of 2022

1Ford Fiesta288,639
2Vauxhall Corsa229,454
3Volkswagen Golf216,227
4Ford Focus213,821
5Vauxhall Astra165,011
6Mini hatch158,710
7BMW 3 Series155,264
8Volkswagen Polo137,517
9Audi A3114,801
10BMW 1 Series112,312

The similarly-sized Vauxhall Corsa comes in second, followed by the larger Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. The annual top ten also features a few premium models that sold in high quantities, such as the BMW 1 Series hatch and 3 Series saloon, as well as the Audi A3.

While SUVs currently dominate the new car registration rankings, including 2022’s new car best-seller the Nissan Qashqai, no SUV managed to make the used top ten.

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Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Car Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in car-buying need with independent and impartial advice.