The UK is currently experiencing a 12-year high for new car registrations. Last month more than 83,000 new vehicles made their way onto UK roads, an increase of 8.4% compared to February last year. The figures, which were released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, were due, say commentators, on an increased demand from private buyers.
Indeed, the increase within the private buyer market was up 22.6% compared with the same period in 2015. The news comes only a day after 75% of SMMT members stated that if the in-out referendum on the UK’s membership to the EU was held now, staying “in” Europe would be the best for British-based businesses.
The boost in sales also saw green vehicles enjoy their fastest growth with 2,221 alternative-fuelled cars registered. That’s nearly 20% higher than last year. Petrol and diesel car registrations accounted for just over 81,000 sales, more than 10% and 5% higher respectively on sales in 2015. The only fall occurred in the fleet-car market where demand decreased by 1.4%. However, the sector still accounted for more than half of new registrations.
Of the new models registered in February the most popular model was the Ford Fiesta (4,507 new cars were registered). The Volkswagen Golf, fighting back after its recent poor press because of the emissions test debacle, was a distant second but still recorded over 2,500 units sold. Ford enjoyed further success with the big-selling Focus while the Nissan Qashqai and Vauxhall Corsa also saw strong sales.
Certainly, it has been a successful year all-round for the car manufacturing industry. The 253,073 cars registered to date add up to a 4.7% increase on last year with alternative-fuelled cars showing the biggest growth. Month-on-month car registrations continue to spike ahead of the plate change in March.
February is typically a quiet month, said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. He noted that the “positive performance” and “encouraging” results puts the sector in a prime position for the coming year.