UK new car sales at highest point since 2005

UK new car registrations – rolling-year volumes since January 2012 and quarterly growth rates to date

During the first six months of 2014, a total of 1,287,265 new cars were registered in the UK. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says this figure represents 10.6 per cent year-on-year growth and is the best half-year total since 2005. New car registrations rose 6.2 per cent year-on-year in June to 228,291 units. SMMT sees the market as being on track for 2.4 million new car registrations this year, more than six per cent above the 2013 figure.

“Improving economic conditions have helped propel the UK new car market to a strong first half-year performance, with registrations up 10.6 per cent on the same period in 2013,” commented SMMT chief executive Mikes Hawes. “Key to attracting consumers is the ever-improving efficiency of new cars, an important factor that is highlighted by the 51.3 per cent increase in alternatively-fuelled vehicle registrations so far this year. The overall market has risen faster than we were expecting but, after a bumper March, growth is showing signs of stabilising around our forecast level.”

Hawes noted the significant growth in sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles, however they remain a niche segment. A total of 4,160 such vehicles were registered in the first half of 2014, just 1.8 per cent of total new registrations (up from 1.5 per cent a year earlier). Diesel cars gained even more market share, rising from 48.7 per cent of all new registrations in the first half of 2013 to 51.4 per cent this year, with a total of 117,411 cars registered.

The best-selling cars between 1 January and 30 June 2014 were the Ford Fiesta (70,153 units) and Focus (44,754). The top-selling non-Fords were the Vauxhall Corsa (42,285) and Volkswagen Golf (38,142).

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