One careful owner? Why used cars are so popular

Worldwide parts shortage and sluggish recovery from the pandemic have resulted in huge demand for second hand vehicles.

It’s most people’s dream to buy and own a new car but recent sales figures certainly don’t back that up. Just one in five cars bought today is new, while the remainder of UK sales involve a used motor.

So why are second hand cars so popular at the moment?

There’s no simple answer to that one. A ‘perfect storm’ combination of factors have merged to create a troubling new car sales malaise. It’s a complicated mixture of growing demand from customers fresh from Covid and looking for a car, frustrations that new car dealers are still catching up from the lockdown era, and a worldwide shortage of semi-conductors, the microchips used in car entertainment and safety control systems


And anyone who has had a car on finance such as a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) is being forced to hand it back and take out a new deal, unless they can find the massive balloon payment at the end of their agreement term. Few can do this, so it’s putting yet more good used cars back on the market.

Add in to the mixture a delay – or complete halting – of parts and materials that traditionally come from Russia or Ukraine, and the nightmarish circle is complete for new vehicle supply.

But their used cousins are getting all the glory. The reduced supply of new machinery has forced potential buyers to abandon their bid for a fresh set of wheels and go look on the used car forecourts and websites instead.

History tells its own tales: last year, used car sales grew 11.5% over 2020 figures with nearly 7,531,000 second hand motors changing hands, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). New car sales figures though, stood at around 1,647,000 – up just one per cent on Covid-ravaged 2020 and representing only 18% of the 9.1 million total car sales in the UK.

The outlook for car sales

And it won’t stop in 2022. A lack of new cars right now means that, further down the line, there will be fewer used vehicles becoming available. And with no end in sight to the shortage of brand spanking wheels in the UK, used dealer groups are already forecasting high demand and low stock for the next two to three years. This will continue to push up used cars prices and fan the sales flames in the second hand arena.

So with continued demand for good quality used cars and stocks of vehicles drying up, prices are soaring. It’s good news if you’re selling a car but bad news if you’re trying to buy one because you will be paying top end prices for the motor of your dreams.

All the more reason then, to make sure you know what you’re getting: a quality vehicle worth every penny of your hard-earned cash. And one of the ways you can achieve that is with a vehicle history check such as one from Motorcheck.

Our £9.99 ‘Single Check’ provides a full identity examination, a finance check to see if there are any outstanding loan agreements, a comparison of previously recorded miles against the car’s current odometer reading, and a write-off assessment to see if the vehicle has been written-off by any insurance company. These are all standard features of a Motorcheck History Report, along with numerous other vital police, anti-fraud and theft safeguards.

One careful owner? With a history check at least that’s one piece of the past that won’t come back to haunt you.