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SMMT data reveals record year for fleet registrations

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New car registrations topped 2.6 million units for the first time in 2015, sealing four years of consecutive growth, with fleet and business registrations accounting for more than half of the market.  

The market has posted increases in all bar one of the past 46 months and a bumper December – the biggest ever, up 8.4% – saw 180,077 new cars registered.

Fleet and business sectors were responsible for 60% of sales in December, with 108,473 registrations.

Overall, the market rose 6.3% in 2015 to 2,633,503 units – exceeding forecast 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.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 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.”

Growth was enjoyed across all sectors, with UK fleet and business registrations boosting demand by 9.8% to reach an all time high of 1.4 million units. Appetite in the private sector, meanwhile, was also robust, up 2.5%.

Gains were reported across all fuel types, with petrol and diesel registrations up 8.4% and 3% respectively with equal market shares. Alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) demand, meanwhile, grew 40.3%, securing the biggest ever market share of 2.8% for a year. Plug-in hybrids experienced phenomenal growth, with volumes more than doubling, while pure electric vehicles saw an uplift of around 50%.

John Leech, UK head of automotive at KPMG, said: “Looking beyond the UK, the recovery of the new car market in Europe really took root during 2015 with Germany back to pre-financial crisis levels of new car sales and Italy, France and Spain all posting strong gains. 

"Across the EU, sales were up 3% and this should continue in 2016 as unemployment is set to fall strongly. 

"The US posted record sales in 2015 and looks to have finally plateaued mirroring the UK market. China, Russia, Brazil and the Middle East however look set for another difficult year as falling consumer confidence, political instability and falling oil revenues are likely to cause weaker than forecast economic performance which will impact negatively on the UK’s premium car manufacturers such as JLR, MINI, Bentley and Rolls Royce.”

Hawes concluded: “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.” 

December

Total

Diesel

Petrol

AFV

Private

Fleet

Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015

180,077

89,762

84,509

5,806

71,604

103,000

5,473

2014

166,198

84,427

77,383

4,388

64,549

90,475

11,174

% change

8.4%

6.3%

9.2%

32.3%

10.9%

13.8%

-51.0%

Mkt share '15

 

49.8%

46.9%

3.2%

39.8%

57.2%

3.0%

Mkt share '14

 

50.8%

46.6%

2.6%

38.8%

54.4%

6.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 full-year

Total

Diesel

Petrol

AFV

Private

Fleet

Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015

2,633,503

1,276,871

1,283,857

72,775

1,208,812

1,317,570

107,121

2014

2,476,435

1,240,173

1,184,409

51,853

1,179,499

1,178,416

118,520

% change

6.3%

3.0%

8.4%

40.3%

2.5%

11.8%

-9.6%

Mkt share '15

 

48.5%

48.8%

2.8%

45.9%

50.0%

4.1%

Mkt share '14

 

50.1%

47.8%

2.1%

47.6%

47.6%

4.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Total cars

2,131,795

1,994,999

2,030,846

1,941,253

2,044,609

2,264,737

2,476,435


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