A record 8.2m used cars were sold in the UK in 2016, representing a 7.3% increase year-on-year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

By body type, superminis were the most popular in 2016, making up over a third of all used car sales. SUVs saw the highest increase in popularity, with sales increasing 17%, boosting their share of the market to 8.3%. City cars saw slightly more modest growth, with sales rising 11.5% in the same period.

Petrol was the most popular fuel type for used car purchasers in 2016, selling over 4.6m, though its dominance suffered a hit, with its market share declining by 1.5% as diesels and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) increased in presence. For used AFVs, registrations rose 32.5%, while diesel and petrol transactions increased 11.1% and 4.7% respectively over the same period.

The Ford Fiesta retained its position as Britain’s bestselling used car, with 381,519 transactions, followed closely by the Ford Focus at 381,519. Silver and aluminium was the most popular colour, sported by 417,937 of used vehicles sold in 2016.

The South East dominated in regional sales, with 1.2m used cars being sold in 2016, over 3m more than its closest rival the North West, which saw 850,792 used car transactions over the same period.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “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. 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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By GlobalData

According to the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA), 1.25m used cars were purchased on finance in 2016.