Over 4m used cars changed hands in the first of 2016, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It added it was the first time the 4m number had been breached in the six month period.

The total of 4,181,042 used car sales was 7.9% above the same period in 2015, when just under 3.9m used cars were sold.

The South East of England was responsible for the largest share of sales, with Greater London responsible for 354,486 used car transactions, followed by the North West (10.2%) and the West Midlands (9.8%).

The SMMT said April was the most popular time to buy a used car, when the used car stock is particularly strong following March’s plate change, which more than three quarters of a million used vehicles sold in the month.

Supermini vehicles represented one in three transactions (33.9%), with small family cars in second place (27.2%).

The Ford Fiesta was the bestselling used car, with nearly 60,000 sold in H1 2016, which is perhaps unsurprising, considering it has regularly been the bestselling new car for some time.

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Mike Hawes, chief executive at the SMMT, said, “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.”