Independent, impartial advice for car buyers and car owners

Find an Expert Rating: 

New car sales head for more records

Market tops 2.5 million in November.

Our Expert Partners

Motorway 600x300

Sell your car with Motorway
Find out more

Motors 600x300

Find your next car with Motors
Find out more

Cazoo 600x300

Find your next car with Cazoo
Find out more

ALA Insurance logo 2022 600x300

Warranty and GAP from ALA Insurance
Find out more

MotorEasy logo 300x150

Warranty, servicing and tyres from MotorEasy
Find out more

Mycardirect subscriptions – 600x300

Carsubscriptions from Mycardirect
Find out more


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% 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%t in November as the private market slipped by 1.2%. Petrol-powered cars also appear to be making a comeback, up by 7.9% as diesels slid 2.9%.

The biggest growth in percentage terms, however, is coming from alternatively-fuelled vehicles, which includes electric and hybrid cars. Demand for these surged 25% in November with 6,663 vehicles registered. While such vehicles still form a very small part of the overall market at 3.6%, 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% up on 2015 with 2.678 million units registered, but in 2017 and 2018 will dip by 5% and 1.3%.

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).

The latest from The Car Expert

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a 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.