SMMT reports best ever performance for UK new car registrations in 2015

Demand for new car registrations in 2015 exceeded expectations and increased by 6.3%, with 2.63 million vehicles registered, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on Thursday.

The motor industry organisation said four consecutive years of growth saw the best ever performance in the UK new car market last year. December registrations were the largest number recorded, increasing by 4% with 180,077 new cars registered during the month.

Also, fleet demand surpassed 1.3 million vehicles in 2015, a rise of 11.8% and the highest level of demand achieved. The private sector was also increased by 2.5%.

All fuel types of registrations achieved gains in 2015, with both petrol and diesel registrations up 8.4% and 3% respectively and having equal market shares. Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) grew by 40.3%, which mean this type of vehicle secured the biggest ever market share of 2.8% for a year. There was also significant growth in the plug-in hybrid market, where volumes more than doubled, while pure electric vehicles saw a boost of approximately 50%.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, commented: “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.”

Analyst and BBC industry correspondent, John Moylan, suggested that:

“A big factor fuelling sales is the availability and cost of finance on forecourts. The SMMT says that 80% of cars are bought with some form of finance and around 60% are purchased using PCP’s.

“These Personal Contract Purchase plans mean customers can buy a new car for an affordable monthly payment in the same way that you might purchase a new mobile phone.

“As PCP’s work on a 3 yr buying cycle, that keeps demand for new cars strong.”