Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed a ten-year high in the number of new-car sales.
David Raistrick, UK automotive leader at Deloitte, said: ‘At the beginning of 2014, it was clear we were going to see healthy levels of growth in new-vehicle registrations, although the final numbers of almost 2.5m have surpassed everyone’s expectations, especially given the difficulties experienced in the mainstream European markets.
‘There is naturally going to come a time when the UK new-car market’s record run of comparative monthly growth will come to an end.
‘However, when this point comes – and our analysis suggests it will be 2015, with a plateau having now been reached – it is important the market reaction is measured.
‘A levelling-off in new registrations should be balanced against the reality that as recently as only three years ago, new cars sales were fewer than 1.95 million, and the European market has been in freefall over this period.
‘Equally, there is a finite limit to the numbers of new cars required every year, no matter how buoyant the markets may be. Current levels are hugely positive, and flat sales this coming year, or even a slight reduction, should still be seen as a positive position, and not a tale of woe.
‘A number of positive signs remain for the new-car market. There is no immediate indication finance costs will increase, higher levels of employment should give more private buyers the confidence to make a purchase, and the continuing troubles in the Eurozone will encourage manufacturers to support the UK’s buoyant market.
‘Taking all these matters into account, our analysis suggests the UK’s new-car market should continue to be a success story over the next 12 months, though it is unlikely that the rate of growth achieved over the past 34 months will continue.
‘Our forecast for the next 12 months is for new registration figures to broadly match, or possibly even be slightly less, than 2014.’