New car sales head for more records

Car Industry News

Britain’s new car market topped 2.5 million vehicles last month – the first time the figure has been reached in November.

The 184,101 vehicles registered in the month was 2.9 per cent higher than in November 2015, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), that compiles the figures.

So far in 2016 a total of 2,514,764 cars have been registered, putting the market on course to beat the 2015 full-year total of 2633,503.

Fleet sales are still driving the market, the sector up 5.1 per cent in November as the private market slipped by 1.2 per cent. Petrol-powered cars also appear to be making a comeback, up by 7.9 per cent as diesels slid 2.9 per cent.

The biggest growth in percentage terms, however, is coming from alternatively-fuelled vehicles, which includes electric and hybrid cars. Demand for these surged 25 per cent in November with 6,663 vehicles registered. While such vehicles still form a very small part of the overall market at 3.6 per cent, they are showing great momentum with 82,650 buyers having so-far chosen the alternative-fuelled route in 2016.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes believes the latest advanced technology and cutting-edge designs are continuing to attract buyers into showrooms.

“It’s encouraging to see that alternatively fuelled vehicles, although still a small proportion of the market, have seen strong growth this month achieving a record market share,” he says.

“Long-term government support and incentives are essential if these vehicles are to command a larger market share in the future,” Hawes adds.

Earlier this month the SMMT predicted this year’s market would finish 1.7 per cent up on 2015 with 2.678 million units registered, but in 2017 and 2018 will dip by five per cent and 1.3 per cent.

In the month its replacement was revealed, the Ford Fiesta continues to dominate the new-car top ten, with 8,382 registrations in November, more than 3,500 ahead of nearest rival the Vauxhall Astra.

Year-to-date 112,327 new Fiestas have been registered, ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa (73,112), the Ford Focus (65,554), Volkswagen Golf (64,137), Nissan Qashqai (59,480) and the Astra 54,585).

Andrew Charman

Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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