The UK new car market achieved a 12-year high in January, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
The total was 174,564 vehicles last month – a 2.9% year-on-year uplift and the highest level since 2005.
The alternative fuelled vehicle segment grew 19.9% to take a record 4.2% market share – the first time 4% has been surpassed.
Across other fuel types there was a mixed picture with diesel registrations down -4.3% but new car registrations of petrol cars grew 8.9%.
Across the market, private motorists led the growth, registering 76,729 new cars – up 5.0%. Fleet demand also grew marginally by 1.4%, while business registrations fell by -1.0%.
|Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “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.
“It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this positive growth, reaching a record market share.
“After 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.”
There have been reports that predictions of price cuts to keep sales moving have started to be seen with some just released models being available with £2,000 off stated prices.
Industry watchers have said only keen pricing, cheap finance and other incentives will keep sales motoring and the BoE decision to peg interest rates will help.
|Reacting to the rise in sales, Chris Bosworth, Director of Strategy at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said, “Increasing production levels, registrations and consumers moving from the new to the used car market has had a positive knock-on effect for car-dealerships throughout the UK. Our recent Dealer Satisfaction Survey highlights this, with 65% of dealers expecting growth this year.”
“Looking ahead, the effects of rising inflation on consumer spending and the changes to salary sacrifice from April 2017 to the business market will be the major challenges to the private sales market. Innovations, including more sophisticated driver aids, increase in safety improvements, and the uptake of ULEV, will be key in encouraging consumers to purchase new over used vehicles in 2017.”
A rise in emissions taxes from April is also thought to be fuelling demand at the moment and a drop in registrations is expected from the end of March, offset by the new plate being introduced.
In Wales last month, 5,641 new cars were registered a rise of just under 1% on 12 months earlier and the highest region outside England.
Ford dominated the Welsh market with the top three places.
|UK January top ten||Wales top ten|
|MB C Class||Golf|
|Audi A3||Hyundai Tucson|