New auto sales reach 12-year high for January with 175000 registered

In January, a total of 174,099 new cars were registered across the United Kingdom, compared with 169,245 in the same month the previous year. A total of 7,279 such vehicles were registered, 19.9 per cent more than in January 2016 and taking the sector's market share to more than four per cent for the first time.

Registrations by private motorists had the strongest performance, rising 5% to 76,726 new cars.

Low-carbon vehicles secured a record share of the United Kingdom new auto market last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has claimed.

Suggesting that a backlash against diesel may be growing, diesel auto registrations slipped by 4.3 per cent to 78,773, while petrol vehicles jumped 8.9 per cent to 88,507.

Fleet registrations saw a 1.4% rise to 91,181 units in January 2017. The SMMT has calculated that Britain leaving the European Union without a negotiated trade deal and instead operating under current WTO tariffs would add £1,500 to the price of an imported vehicle bought in the UK.

That's the biggest number of sales recorded in Britain since 2005, and represents a year-on-year growth of 2.9%.

"2017 got off to a good start in the new vehicle market, buoyed by a great range of new models which are safer and cleaner than ever before", said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.

Chris Bosworth, director of strategy at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: "After a nine month period of sustained decline, it's interesting to note that new-car private sector sales are again on the increase".

The report also found that, diesel registrations were down by more than 4 per cent; however demand for petrol cars increased by almost nine per cent.

"It's encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefitting from this positive growth, reaching a record market share", he added.

"Growth at the rate we have seen can't continue forever".

  • Anthony Vega