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New Car Sales in UK at All Time High

Feb 11, 2017

Figures show that 2016 was an extremely good year for car manufacturers and dealerships as all previous sales records were broken. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) a total of 2, 69 million cars were registered during the year, which is a 2 % improvement on the previous year.

First 6 Months

The trend was already evident during the first half of the year and figures at the end of June 2016 showed an improvement of 3.2% on the first 6 months of 2015. In fact the figures January – June show the strongest half-year performance in the new car market in the UK’s history. A record number of 1, 420,636 were registered during the 6-month period.

Fleet Ownership vs. Private Ownership

The market segment that performed best during the year was fleet sales. Sales were up by 4.8% as opposed to private sales which dropped by 0.2 %, and business registrations which dropped by 1.2%.

Experts believe that the growth took place as a result of attractive finance deals and a great number of new models available.

Figures also show that superminis are still the most popular new cars and that AFV’s (alternatively fuelled vehicles such as hybrids and electric vehicles) have shown an upward trend in terms of sales: 22% more than 2015. Another interesting trend is that sales in the category: diesel cars are also being affected negatively – they now represent less than half of all new registrations.

If you are fortunate enough to be considering purchasing a new vehicle and are looking to sell my car, it’s worth remembering that it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell a high value car privately.

Future Predictions

This trend may, however, change in coming months.

It seems experts believe 2017 may be a different story when compared to last year. According to Samuel Tombs, economist at Pantheon, inflation may cause households’ real income to stagnate, resulting in fewer sales.  And of course there is the weaker pound and Brexit, and although no hard evidence exists to predict its outcome on the car industry, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes says that should the UK not be able to trade freely with the EU, every imported car will cost £ 1, 500 more – an alarming prediction taking into account that more than 85% of new UK cars are imported. Some sources predict sales to be down by 5 or 6% during 2017.

The final figures for the top 6 new cars for 216 are as follows:

  • Ford Fiesta (120, 525)
  • Vauxhall Corsa (77, 110)
  • Ford Focus (70, 545)
  • Volkswagen Golf (69, 492)
  • Nissan Qashqai (62, 682)
  • Vauxhall Astra (60, 719)
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