Growth in the used car market continued in the third quarter of 2016 as UK buyers bought a record 2,148,050 vehicles, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Demand grew 7.9% compared with third quarter of 2015.

Consumer appetite for alternatively fuelled vehicles rose substantially – increasing 34.1% (21,543) compared with the same period in 2015 (16,059). The number of electric vehicles changing hands grew 94.1% between July and September as used buyers made the most of new fuel technology appearing in the used sector.

Diesel and petrol fuelled vehicles also enjoyed growth – up 10.8% and 5.7% respectively – with the latest, low emission Euro 6 models now entering the used market in increasing numbers. Meanwhile, the trend towards smaller cars continued, with superminis the best-selling body type (33.8%) followed by family hatchbacks (27.4%) and saloons (13.4%).

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “Sustained growth in the used car sector is great news for consumers, who have never enjoyed so much choice – whether in brand, body style or fuel type and the range of finance packages on offer makes them more affordable than ever. It’s particularly promising to see the growing demand for electric vehicles filter into the used car market but to encourage greater take-up, a more widespread commitment to charging infrastructure is needed.”