The second-hand vehicle market has had its reputation tarnished over the years. From Arthur Daley in television programme Minder, to the scheming, cruel father in Roald Dahl's Matilda, the used car salesman has been the subject of a rather harsh character assassination.
However, this has not stopped motorists flocking to forecourts all over the country to pick up a good deal on a vehicle. And new research from Experian has revealed exactly what cars drivers are going for when they decide to take the plunge.
Over the first half of 2007, the biggest increase in sales was for the Peugeot 307, which sold more than 41,300 over the period compared to around 35,000 an increase of around 18 per cent on figures from one year previous, the company found.
It added that the next biggest-selling used car was the Ford Focus - a family car which was driven out of forecourts by an increase of nearly nine per cent of motorists during the year's first six months than in 2006. Similar activity was recorded in the super mini market, with the Ford Ka picking up around an 8 per cent increase and the Peugeot 206 gaining more than 6 per cent in sales.
Overall, the firm summarised that used super mini purchases went up to more than 1,100,000, which is 0.2 per cent more than the lower medium-size family vehicles such as the Focus and 307.
According to the managing director of Experian's Automotive division, the reason for this is people's desire to stay on a budget and not spend more than they can afford.
"With growing levels of personal debt, higher running costs, increasing tax and pressures to reduce our impact on the environment, the benefits of a smaller car are becoming more apparent to car buyers. It is not surprising that super mini sales have topped the popularity list in the used car world," said the expert.
A recent study from a leader in automotive industry had similar findings. The report looked at the European market and found that small cars took a 27 per cent share of the new car market on the continent over the first six months of the year.
The global business development director at the firm, stated that this was down to the attention given to global warming and climate change, rather than a declining consumer demand for larger vehicles.
"The market is subject to considerable change thanks to political and legislative changes, economic considerations and the effect of new model introductions," he said.
Indeed, those looking for car insurance can pick up cheaper deals if they opt for an environmentally-friendly vehicle.