UK new car registrations for 2015 beat 2.6 million units for the first time, sealing four years of consecutive growth.
The market has posted increases in all bar one of the past 46 months and a bumper December – the biggest ever, up 8.4 per cent – saw 180,077 new cars registered.
Overall, the market rose 6.3 per cent in 2015 to 2,633,503 units – exceeding forecasts and outperforming the last record year in 2003 when 2,579,050 new cars left the UK’s showrooms. This is only the fourth time that the market has surpassed 2.5 million vehicles in a full year.
Growth was enjoyed across all sectors, with UK fleets boosting demand by 11.8 per cent to reach an all time high of 1.3 million units. Appetite in the private sector, meanwhile, was also robust, up 2.5 per cent.
Gains were reported across all fuel types, with petrol and diesel registrations up 8.4 per cent and three per cent respectively with equal market shares.
Alternatively-fuelled vehicle (AFV) demand, meanwhile, grew 40.3 per cent, securing the biggest ever market share of 2.8 per cent for a year. Plug-in hybrids experienced phenomenal growth, with volumes more than doubling, while pure electric vehicles saw an uplift of around 50 per cent.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘The new car market defied expectations in 2015, hitting an all-time record driven by strong consumer and business confidence.
‘Buyers took advantage of attractive finance deals and low inflation to secure some of the most innovative, high-tech and fuel efficient vehicles ever produced. The past four years have seen a remarkable period of sustained growth, and the outlook remains positive with every reason to expect the market to hold broadly steady in 2016.’
Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers’ Association, said: ‘Strong new car sales like this will have a lasting positive impact on the UK economy as all the new cars of today need to be serviced in the years ahead.
‘This is also a positive indicator for the UK job market, with 500,000 people in the UK employed in services cars, relative to the 200,000 employed manufacturing them.’
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