Best January for new car sales for eight years

SMMT figures on new car registrations showed a positive start to the year as the numbers grew 6.7 per cent in January to 164,856 units – the strongest January since 2007.

The record growth period for the whole market continues: January marked the 35th consecutive month of rises.

Growth in company car registrations was particularly strong, up 18.1 per cent on January 2014.

Also, 4,598 alternatively-fuelled vehicles were registered in January, up 60.8 per cent on last year’s figure of 2,859.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “These figures mark an encouraging start to the year after a very strong 2014, with a strikingly robust company car market as businesses take advantage of the attractive finance offers currently available.

“January saw increased uptake of both petrol and diesel cars, while demand for alternatively-fuelled vehicles continued its surge with registrations rising by 60.8 per cent. Registrations of plug-in vehicles were particularly strong as consumers responded to a greater choice of makes and models delivering lower running costs.

“Last year’s 9.3 per cent rise in the overall market was fuelled by stronger than expected economic confidence and, for 2015, we expect to see some levelling off throughout the year: demand is back to pre-recession levels following record-breaking growth.”

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial retailers across the UK, said: “It is extremely positive to see that the new car market in 2015 has got off to a strong start.

“January saw strong growth in the UK fleet market with an increase of 18.1 per cent indicating a strengthening in business confidence enabling businesses to invest in the purchase of new vehicles.

“The new car market across Europe is seeing signs of recovery with Germany this week posting a 2.5 per cent increase in new car sales in January, as well as Spain and France who posted 27.5 per cent and 5.9 per cent increases respectively.  It is believed that improving consumer sentiment across Europe and more disposable income and Government incentives are helping drive this market.

“The NFDA expect the market this year to continue to perform well and to build on the success of 2014.”

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