It found that 1,774,351 transactions took place, with 86,596 additional cars changing hands compared with the same period in 2021.
Used car sales in the quarter were driven by a buoyant market in January and February, with rises of 17.7% and 7.4% respectively, before March saw a decline of 6.8%. However, despite growth over the course of the quarter, used car transactions remain 12.2% below the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
Meanwhile, it was a record first quarter for used battery electric vehicles (BEVs), with transactions for BEVs doubling from 6,625 to 14,586. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and hybrids (HEVs) rose by 35.3% to 14,433, and 28.8% to 35,007 units respectively.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "With the new car market hampered by ongoing global supply shortages, growth in the used car market is welcome, if unsurprising especially given we were in lockdown last year. Electric car sales are energising the market, with zero emission vehicles starting to filter through in larger numbers to consumers looking forward to driving the latest and greenest vehicles. Although there is some way to go before we see the recent growth in new EVs replicated in the used market, a buoyant new car market will be vital to help drive fleet renewal which is essential to the delivery of carbon savings."