A customer opening the door of a car in a showroom

Used car sales hit record high in first half

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UK sales of used cars grew by 7.9% in the first half of 2016, reaching the highest level since records began.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 4,181,042 used cars were sold between January and June -- the first time the market has surpassed four million units in the first half of the year.

The industry group said this increase mirrored the sustained levels of growth in sales of new cars.

Customer receiving car keysMike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, commented: "The UK's used car market is at its strongest ever, and that's great news for buyers spoilt for choice with the latest advanced vehicle technology and attractive financing options.

"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."

Reporting on the figures, BBC News noted that the half-year rise in used car sales was much higher than the growth of the wider economy, or of people's incomes. It also exceeded the 3% rise in sales of new cars during the same period.

Sales were particularly strong in April following the March plate change, with 760,308 vehicles purchased in this month.

Cars between one and three years old made up the biggest proportion of overall sales, while superminis were the most sought after body type, representing one in three transactions (33.9%).

Silver, black, blue and grey were the most popular colours but bolder colours were in also in demand, with yellow and gold returning to the used car top 10.

The ever-popular Ford Fiesta was the UK's favourite used car, with nearly 60,000 sold in January-June.

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