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Used car sales reach record high in Q1

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A record number of used cars were sold in the UK in the first three months of 2017, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). A total of 2,133,956 used cars changed hands in the first three months of the year -- 3.4% more than in 2016 and the biggest-ever volume seen in the first quarter.

Despite negative headlines about diesels over the past few months, there was growth for all fuel types. Diesel and petrol sales showed gains of 5.6% and 1.6% respectively. Of the 851,569 used diesel cars sold in the period, one in five were the latest low emission Euro 6 models.

There was also strong growth for alternatively fuelled vehicles. With more hybrid, electric and hydrogen cars entering the second-hand market, registrations rose 43.2% to 21,320 units. This segment accounted for 1.0% of the market, compared with 0.7% last year, the SMMT noted.

Superminis remained the most popular vehicle type, accounting for more than a third of the used car market, although the mini segment was the fastest growing with sales up 13.2%.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes commented:

"A buoyant used car market combined with strong residual values is good news for the sector, with motorists benefitting from the wide range of models and high-tech safety and connected features entering the market.

"Diesel cars remain as popular as ever, with consumers now able to take advantage of the low emission Euro 6 diesels available in the used car market. It's also positive to see sales of used electric and hybrid vehicles rise, reflecting what we have seen in the new car market.

"To ensure this growth is maintained and the benefits of low emission vehicles spread quickly throughout society, continued investment in infrastructure, incentives and a tax regime that encourages demand is essential."

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