A consumer in a car at a dealership

Record number of used cars sold in 2016

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More than 8 million used cars changed hands last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The industry body said that the used car market reflected changes in new car consumer tastes, with demand for smaller models showing no sign of slowing down. Superminis were again the best-selling body type, accounting for more than a third of all used car sales, and sales of city cars grew 11.5%.

Opening car doorHowever, of all body types, the popularity of SUVs rose fastest. Sales were up nearly 17% to take an 8.3% share of the market.

Petrol was still the leading fuel type, with more than 4.6 million traded, although its market share dipped 1.5% as demand rose for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) and diesels. This reflects the shift in new car sales to diesel over the past decade or so, the SMMT explained.

Used AFV registrations rose 32.5% in 2016, while diesels increased 11.1% and petrol transactions grew 4.7%.

The UK's best selling used car remained the Ford Fiesta, closely followed by the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa. Completing the top five were the Vauxhall Astra and the Volkswagen Golf.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented:

"On the back of a record 2016 for UK new car registrations, it's further good news that our used car market is in such good health. Strong demand is testament to the quality, reliability and appeal of cars on sale today, with used buyers enjoying more choice, more low emission, safety and connected technology than ever. Providing economic conditions remain stable and interest rates low, there's no reason why we shouldn't see growth in this sector continue in 2017."

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