There could be many reasons why you want to find out how many used cars are sold each year worldwide and in the US. You could be interested in the automotive industry or economic trends. You might be a geek who loves all kinds of statistics. Either way, today you’ll find out how many used cars are sold in the US.

This information will help you understand just how large the automobile businesses can be. You might get inspired to start your own business or give up the affection towards new vehicles. I can’t predict the outcomes, but I can direct you towards more knowledge.

Let’s take a look at statistics and examine the existing trends in the automotive industry.

Why do statistics matter?

Because they let us examine the past and gain a better understanding of the future. I know, statistics can be boring and dull, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.

Once we scrutinize the numbers and learn how many used cars are sold in the US each year, you’ll get the chance to explore the trends. You’ll see what happened in the past and why. Statistics are the results that are caused by economic or global matters.

Therefore, you’ll be able to grasp which factors affect the automobile industry and vice versa, which of them bring in even more success.

Whenever you’re starting a new business, you must look at the numbers beforehand and contemplate carefully whether it will be profitable or not.

Statistics also enable you to choose a better timing as well. For instance, if you notice that the economic crisis has a direct effect on the automotive industry, you won’t start selling cars when experts are expecting a drop in sales.

Similarly, statistics show that Coronavirus affected the majority of businesses roughly and used cars weren’t an exception either. Even though the automobile industry hasn’t suffered as much as other fields, it still experienced certain losses. The global sales dropped to 63.7 million in 2020 compared to 74.9 million in 2019.

Therefore, if you were thinking about starting a used car business in 2020, it wouldn’t be the best year. You wouldn’t be able to sell as much during the year.

Each industry has its peculiarities and events such as global pandemics affect them differently. Nevertheless, if you’re thinking about a specific business, it’s reasonable to explore past experiences and determine your timing accordingly.

That’s why it’s important to figure out how many used cars are sold each year in various parts of the world and compare them with numbers in the US.

How many used cars are sold each year worldwide?


The amount of used cars sold each year differs significantly worldwide. Of course, those numbers depend on the size of the economy, various industries, and global situation as well.

2020 has been quite rough for the majority of countries. From February to March, the sales dropped in Germany (from approx. 75,000 to 40,000), Spain (from approx. 20,000 to 10,000), France (from approx. 60,000 to 20,000), Italy (from approx. 20,000 to 5,000), and UK (from approx. 28,000 to 21,000).

However, not all the countries were hit similarly. South Korea experienced an increase in total sales of cars, with Vietnam and Tukey following the same pattern.

If we take a look at previous statistics, we’ll see a completely different picture. The UK sold around 7.9 million used cars each year, Germany – 3.5 million, South Korea – 2.6 million. In the majority of these countries, the sales of used cars exceed the sales of new vehicles significantly.

We can see clearly that people prefer to buy used cars. Regardless of the drop resulted from pandemics, new cars will likely remain at a steady rate of sales, while the used cars are becoming more and more popular.

How many used cars are sold in the US? – 40.8 million approximately. If we compare that to 17 million new cars sold each year, we’ll prove once again that the used car market is thriving.

But why do people enjoy used cars so much? – because they are cheaper, they don’t depreciate as much and they are cheaper to maintain. Of course, new cars have their advantages as well, but their depreciation is the buzz-killer for many.

After all, it all comes down to the right financial investments. People who are quite well-off don’t really care about depreciation rates, but most of us don’t want to wash thousands of dollars down the drain.

Therefore, the popularity of used cars shouldn’t be surprising for anyone.

How many used cars are sold in the US by age and type?

Before we discuss how many used cars are sold in the US each year in-depth, let me tell you that the trends are changing quite a bit when it comes to the type and age of pre-owned vehicles.

People are starting to purchase newer cars. If we compare the age of used vehicles sold in 2017, we’ll see that 51% was younger than 3 years, 28% was between 4 to 8, while 21% was older than 9 years.

The main reason is that CPO (certified pre-owned) vehicles are becoming more popular. And since they aren’t that old, they affect the overall picture quite a bit.

People will likely continue purchasing younger used cars in the future as well. We don’t have specific statistic data to back it up, but hopefully, we’ll see how those trends change as time goes by.

Moreover, people have changed their purchasing habits as well. If they mainly bought sedans and light used cars, they are shifting their preferences towards SUVs, pickup trucks, and full-size trucks. That has resulted in the increase in prices of light used cars.

Therefore, the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) increased by 4% for large pickup trucks and 2% for midsize SUVs from 2012 to 2017.

The numbers which represent how many used cars are sold each year increase, however, our preferences change depending on our needs and surroundings.

One more thing to note is that Coronavirus has caused an unprecedented rise in prices among all used cars. The increase in demand and shortage in supply resulted in higher prices across the whole range.

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you’ll probably have to wait a bit longer to allow the market to stabilize itself. Higher prices might play to your advantage, but tighter supplies and decreased sales won’t.

How many used cars are sold in the US each year?

If we examine how many used cars are sold in the US, we’ll notice that around 40 million units leave the lots each year. That number has increased significantly compared to earlier years and has changed during 2020 as well.

Used-car sales exceeded 40 million during the years 2000 and 2007. In 2005, it reached 44.1 million. Due to the 2008 crisis, the sales dropped to 36 million from 2008 to 2010. As the sales started to recover, they amounted to 38 million in 2011. From there, used car sales have steadily remained above 40 million.

In 2019, the sales of used cars reached 40.9 million, but those numbers dropped in 2020. It’s estimated that the US used market will recover during 2021 as the plants are reopened and the supply shortage is taken care of.

Regardless of the minor glitches, statistical data shows us that the US used-car market is strong and huge. It’s not surprising that events such as pandemics and crisis affect its operation. However, plummeting trends always seem to be temporary.

Therefore, if you’re thinking about buying and selling used cars, you need to choose your timing carefully. If you do so, you’ll be able to avoid stagnating periods and start growing quickly. The main thing is to analyze statistical data beforehand and make your decisions accordingly.  


2020 was a difficult year for everyone, including car manufacturers and dealers. Even though dealerships managed to survive better due to the increase in prices, the overall sales numbers were still affected. But we don’t have to worry – things will become normal again as we learn to live alongside Coronavirus.

It’s important to examine how many used cars are sold in the US each year because those numbers help us understand the size of the market, possible niches, and future trends. Good luck!