New car sales reach record numbers in 2016

Updated: 


The number of new cars sold in the UK hit record numbers in 2016.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that 2.69 million cars were registered last year, a two per cent increase over 2015.

However, it warned that 2017 could be a more challenging year, with registrations expected to drop by five to six per cent over the next 12 months.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: "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. 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."

Five successive years of increased sales have been driven by a build-up in demand for new cars following the recession of the late 2000s, he said.

The most popular car was the Ford Fiesta, which has been the best-selling car in the UK for the past eight years and 30 of the past 40. More than 120,000 were registered in 2016, dwarfing its closest competitor, the Vauxhall Corsa, which managed 77,110 sales.

All sectors saw growth, but it was alternatively fuelled cars such as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids that saw the biggest growth, with 22.2 per cent more sales than in 2015.