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Number of older cars on Britain’s roads grows despite new car buying incentives

Time 1 year ago

The number of older cars on Britain’s roads has grown despite the introduction of cleaner, more modern models, new data shows.

Figures from the DVLA and the Department for Transport – collated by Retro Motor – has found there were 6.086m cars over 13 years on UK roads in 2019.

In contrast, the number of cars of a comparable age were just 1.329m in 1994.


In percentage terms, the number of cars over 13 years old in 1994 was 6.3 per cent while in 2019 the figure was 19.1 per cent, or just under one in every five cars.

The average age of all cars on UK roads sat at 8.3 years in 2019, up from 6.7 years in 1994 despite a range of incentives being offered to motorists including scrappage schemes.

The number of new cars registered in Britain has leapt from 21.1m to 31.8m, however.

That said, the number of cars registered in Britain has grown considerably over the same period, rising from 21.1 million to 31.8 million.


Richard Aucock, Retro Motor founder, said: ‘You have to remember that a 13-year old car in 1994 was an early Eighties model with extremely high emissions and no catalytic converters, whereas cars from the mid-2000s were already starting to meet new Euro emissions legislation.

‘In addition, there’s been a huge boom in the popularity of modern classics in recent years, which means that models from the Eighties and Nineties in particular have developed into collectors’ items.

‘Throw into the mix the much-improved build quality of cars from this era and it’s easy to see why many of them remain loved and cherished by enthusiasts, rather than just be used as old bangers.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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