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UK car market hits record high in 2016

Date: 05 January 2017   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

The UK new car market grew for the fifth consecutive year in 2016, helping to achieve the highest number of new car registrations on record - 2,692,786.

This equates to a 2.3% uplift compared to 2015's figures, with much of the growth coming from the fleet market.

Fleets registered a record 1,380,750 new cars in 2016 - a rise of 4.8% compared with 2015, and the fleet market now accounts for 51.3% of the UK new car sector.

Private registrations, meanwhile, fell by 0.2% over the course of the year.

Despite a 22.2% increase in registrations to 88,819 units, alternatively-powered cars are still very much a niche choice, making up just 3.3% of the 2016 UK new car market. Petrol cars accounted for 49.0% of the market, while diesel-powered cars made up the remaining 47.7%.

The most popular new car of 2016 was the Ford Fiesta, with 120,525 examples registered. This eclipses the second-placed Vauxhall Corsa which finished the year on 77,110 registrations.

"Despite 2016's political and economic uncertainties, the UK's new car market delivered another record performance as car makers offered an incredible range of innovative and high tech models," said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.  "2017 may well be more challenging as sterling depreciation raises the price of imported goods but, with interest rates still at historic lows and a range of new models arriving in 2017, there are still many reasons for consumers to consider a new car in 2017."