January new car market hits highest level since 2005

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The UK new car market achieved a 12-year high in January, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed.

Data shows that last month a total of 174,564 vehicles left showrooms – a 2.9% year-on-year uplift and the highest level since 2005 (181,474 vehicles).

The SMMT said alternatively fuelled vehicles grew 19.9% to take a record 4.2% market share, while other fuel types had a mixed picture with petrol car registrations growing 8.9% and diesel registrations down -4.3%.

Private motorists led the growth with 76,729 new cars registered (5.0%), the SMMT added, while fleet demand also grew to 91,181 (1.4%), and business registrations fell to 6,654 (-1.0%).

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said, that 2017 got off to a “good start” in the new car market, buoyed by a great range of new models which are safer and cleaner than ever before.

(Graph Credit: SMMT)

“It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this positive growth, reaching a record market share,” he said.

“After a record growth in 2016, some cooling is anticipated over the coming months, but provided interest rates remain low and the economy stable, the market is in a good position to withstand its short-term challenges.”