New car market achieves record year

1 min read

The UK new car market achieved another record year in 2016, with annual registrations climbing for the fifth year in a row to almost 2.7 million, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Fleets were responsible for the most growth with demand growing from 1.32 million in 2015 to 1.38 million last year, while private stood at 1.2 million and business nearly 106,000.

An uplift was experienced in 10 of the 12 months of last year, with December being only the second month of negative growth as registration dipped by -1.1% to 178,022 – down from 180,077 in 2015.

SMMT said that a range of car models and finance deals fuelled annual registrations which rose by 2.3% compared to 2015. The market saw a dip in 2011 but figures have increased year-on-year since 2012.

Meanwhile petrol and diesel cars continued to be the most popular fuel types for consumers but alternatively fuelled vehicles – including plug-in-hybrids and petrol electric hybrids – experienced a strong uplift in demand.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said, “Despite 2016’s political and economic uncertainties, the UK’s new car market delivered another record performance as car makers offered an incredible range of innovative and high tech models.

“2017 may well be more challenging as sterling depreciation raises the price of imported goods but, with interest rates still at historic lows and a range of new models arriving in 2017, there are still many reasons for consumers to consider a new car in 2017.

“Looking longer term, the strength of this market will rest on our ability to maintain our current trading relations and, in particular, avoid tariff barriers which could add significantly to the cost of a new car."