The decline in car sales has stopped which reflects the ongoing impact of supply challenges and consumer sentiment in light of the economic backdrop.
Growth in the new car market means that there are more vehicles available and between January and March around 1.8 million cars were sold.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said this represents an increase of 4.1% in the same period during 2022.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Easing supply chain challenges have re-energised new car registrations, unlocking availability in the used market and, importantly, delivering more zero emission-capable vehicles to second and third owners.
“Sustaining that growth is vital for our environmental goals, which means bolstering the new car market to drive supply to the used sector.
“Infrastructure rollout must also improve – and at speed – with affordable and reliable charging essential if more used buyers are to switch to the latest and cleanest available vehicles.”
Ian Plummer, commercial director at online vehicle marketplace Auto Trader, said: “Despite a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, robust consumer demand and stock shortages are fuelling the used car market.
“As the figures show, used car sales still have ground to make up to get back to pre-pandemic levels due to production disruption, but the shortage of vehicles also drove used car prices overall up at the fastest pace for 17 months in April.”
Alex Buttle, co-founder of used car marketplace Motorway.co.uk, said: “Motorists frustrated with lengthy wait times for new cars turned to the used market to get exactly what they wanted – in a fraction of the time – especially at the nearly new, premium end of the market.
“With the cost-of-living crisis impacting consumer spending power, people have been quick to turn to the used car market for more value.”