UK Car Market Experiences Longest Ever Period of Sustained Growth

6th March 2015

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) indicate that the UK new car market has grown for the 36 th consecutive month - a record period of growth. February - normally one of the quietest months of the year ahead of a number plate change in March - saw the market grow by 12.0% year-on-year. This period included nearly 77,000 new cars registered, achieving a year-to-date rise of 8.3%. Fleet buyers in particular drove the majority of the increase with registrations up an incredible 19.9% in February. The private market meanwhile saw a more modest, yet steady, increase of 3.4%.

The UK car market's sustained expansion is the longest ever seen – regardless of the economic narrative - beating the previous record of 26 months set nearly 25 years ago in the 1980's. The number of new cars registered has risen every month since March 2012. Attributed to recession recovery and increased consumer demand driven by exciting new products and attractive finance deals, the question is, can this be sustained?

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, seems to think changes are on the way:, "Three years of continuous growth in the new car market is remarkable and reflects the strong upturn in the confidence of UK car buyers since the recession.

"Registrations of fleet and business cars have outpaced the private market in February, reflecting the increased business confidence across the UK. With most fleet car buyers on a three-year replacement cycle, many of those cars purchased at the beginning of the current growth period are now due for replacement. Over the course of 2015, however, we are expecting a more stable market to emerge given there has already been an extended period of consistent growth."

The best selling car has been the popular Ford Fiesta, followed by the much-loved Vauxhall Corsa. The table below illustrates the most popular brands and models.

Best sellers

February

Year-to-date

1

Ford Fiesta

4,096

1

Ford Fiesta

12,770

2

Volkswagen Golf

3,177

2

Vauxhall Corsa

9,709

3

Vauxhall Corsa

2,830

3

Volkswagen Golf

7,564

4

Vauxhall Astra

2,396

4

Ford Focus

6,845

5

Ford Focus

2,021

5

Nissan Qashqai

6,476

6

Nissan Qashqai

1,800

6

Vauxhall Astra

5,392

7

Vauxhall Insignia

1,797

7

Audi A3

5,257

8

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

1,686

8

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

5,220

9

Audi A3

1,609

9

Volkswagen Polo

4,783

10

Fiat 500

1,436

10

Fiat 500

4,581

By Tracey McBain