Category Archives: Car Sales

Stable growth for UK new car market in April

  • New car registrations show steady increase of 2.0% in April to 189,505 units.
  • Growth in fleet and business segments offsets small decline in private demand.
  • Registrations of alternative fuel vehicles rise 26.8%, in line with the year so far.

Friday 6 May, 2016 New car registrations in the UK made a modest gain of 2.0% in April, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 189,505 cars were registered in the month – the most in April since 2003, when 194,312 new vehicles found homes.


As in March, the market growth in April was led by the fleet and business sectors, where respective increases of 6.1% and 2.8% counterbalanced a 2.5% fall in private registrations.

Meanwhile, demand for both petrol and diesel models remains high. Registrations of petrol cars increased 3.4% in April, while diesel saw a slight 0.6% decline. Following the trend set in the first three months of the year, uptake of alternative fuel vehicles jumped by more than a quarter as buyers looked to reduce emissions and running costs.

April’s performance puts registrations for 2016 to date 4.4% up on the same period last year. It follows a bumper March in which more than 518,000 cars were registered – the second-biggest month on record. Demand for cars has been running at a high level, after 43 consecutive months of growth in the market led to an all-time high of 2.63 million car registrations in 2015.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “After such a strong March, April’s steadier performance was to be anticipated, and is in line with our expectations for the year. Consumer confidence remains high as buyers continue to capitalise on attractive finance deals, although this could be affected by political and economic uncertainty in the coming months.”

Car Apr_best sellers

Download the April 2016 new car registrations news release and data table.

Source: SMMT

Record month for UK new car market as 16 plate-change increases demand


  • New car market grows 5.3% in March as more than half a million buyers take advantage of popular plate change.
  • Registrations increase 5.1% in 2016 Q1, to 771,780 units.
  • Alternative fuel vehicles see 21.5% jump in demand, with robust growth in diesel and petrol registrations.

Wednesday 6 April, 2016 The UK’s new car market grew by 5.3% in March, making it the biggest ever month since the bi-annual plate change began in 1999, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

518,707 new cars were registered in March, only the third time the market has surpassed half a million units in a single month. The month rounded off a record quarter, in which more than 770,000 new cars were registered – a 5.1% increase over the first quarter in 2015.

Demand for alternative fuel vehicles showed a notable increase of 21.5% in the month, as consumers continued to favour lower emission vehicles with lower running costs. Registrations of both diesel and petrol cars increased, meanwhile, with respective uplifts of 4.8% and 4.7%.

Growth was seen across all sales types in March: private and business registrations increased 3.8% and 15.3% respectively, while in the fleet sector demand grew 6.0%, reversing small declines seen in January and February as buyers sought to maximise residual values by opting for the new March number plate.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The sector’s strong growth in March rounds off a robust first quarter as British consumers continue to demonstrate their appetite for new cars, especially ultra-low emission vehicles. This consumer confidence should see registrations remain at a high but broadly stable level over the year but could be undermined by political or economic uncertainty.”

Mar_ME table2


Car Feb_best sellers

Download the March 2016 new car registrations news release and data table.

Best year in a decade for British car manufacturing as exports reach record high

  • UK car manufacturing reaches 10-year high, growing 3.9% to 1,587,677 vehicles.
  • More cars exported than ever before, up 2.7% on previous year at 1,227,881.
  • Domestic production surges 8.1% to 359,796 to meet increasing demand for British-built cars.
  • EU demand grows 11.3%, with 57.5% of exports destined for the continent.
  • US overtakes China as UK’s largest export destination, with demand up by a quarter.

21 January 2016 British manufacturers made more cars in 2015 than any year since 2005 when 1,595,697 vehicles were produced, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Production increased 3.9% on 2014, with output at 1,587,677 overtaking pre-recession levels for the first time.1

A record number of cars – representing 77.3% of total production – was for export, with 1,227,881 units leaving the UK, up 2.7% on 2014 levels. Challenges were experienced in some global markets such as China, where demand fell by 37.5%, and Russia, where export volumes declined 69.4%. However, the economic recovery in Europe, the UK’s biggest trading partner, boosted demand for UK-built cars considerably by 11.3% in 2015. The region now accounts for 57.5% of all UK car exports.


SMMT car exports 2015_without text


Appetite for British-built cars grew significantly in other key and emerging regions, demonstrating the strength and diversity of UK manufacturing and product. In the US, demand rose by more than a quarter (26.5%), making it the UK’s biggest trading destination outside the EU, ahead of China. Meanwhile, notable growth was also seen in Australia, South Korea, Turkey and Japan with volumes up 53.7%, 55.2%, 41.1% and 35.4% respectively.

British consumer and business demand for British-made cars also contributed to last year’s success, with the home car market rising 8.1% on the previous year. One in seven new cars registered in the UK in 2015 was made in Britain.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Despite export challenges in some key markets such as Russia and China, foreign demand for British-built cars has been strong, reaching record export levels in the past year. Achieving these hard fought for results is down to vital investment in the sector, world class engineering and a committed and skilled UK workforce – one of the most productive in the world.

“Continued growth in an intensely competitive global marketplace is far from guaranteed, however, and depends heavily on global economic conditions and political stability. Europe is our biggest trading partner and the UK’s membership of the European Union is vital for the automotive sector in order to secure future growth and jobs.”


Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said, “Backing Britain’s car industry has been a priority for this government and today we see the industry going from strength to strength.

“I am hugely encouraged that manufacturing is at a 10-year high and exports ‎are at a record level. All this means jobs and the security of a pay packet for workers and their families.

“Our plans to rebalance the economy mean we have to continue to build on our great manufacturing strengths in the Midlands and the North of England, and work together to ensure that Britain continues to prosper as a global leader in car production.”

The performance of UK automotive is very different compared with UK manufacturing as a whole, according to Office for National Statistics figures, which show  the average manufacturing output to have slowed in recent months.2 Eight brand new car models3 were produced in UK plants in 2015, and with £2.5 billion of fresh investment committed to the sector in 2015, more are set to follow in the coming months.



Source: SMMT


New car registrations return to growth in November




  • UK new car market picks up in November after October fall, with registrations up 8% in the month.
  • 2,453,426 cars registered in the year-to-date – an increase of 2%over the same period last year.
  • Steady growth seen in both petrol and diesel registrations, while an6% rise keeps alternatively fuelled vehicles ahead of the curve.

Following October’s decline – the first in 44 months – registrations of new cars in the UK returned to growth in November, according to figures released today by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

178,876 cars were registered in the month, an increase of 3.8% over November 2014, while the overall market in the first 11 months of 2015 has seen 6.2% growth to 2,453,426 units.

Demand for both petrol and diesel models remains robust with respective gains of 3.8% and 3.6%, while the popularity of alternatively fuelled vehicles continues to grow with an 8.6% uplift. Registrations to fleet buyers (up 8.7%) increased ahead of those to private customers (up 2%), continuing a trend that has been evident for several months.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “November’s figures come as a reminder of the strength of the UK car market, as low interest rates and competitive finance deals continue to attract consumers to new car ownership. We have been expecting a levelling-off in demand for some time now – a development that is being realised following an unprecedented three-and-a-half years of non-stop growth.”



Download the November 2015 new car registrations news release and data table.

Source: SMMT

Surge in UK demand drives strong CV production growth in July


  • UK commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing grows 46.3% in July, with 9,274 units built.
  • Production for the domestic market particularly strong, up 137.6% over July 2014, while exports steady.
  • CV industry has seen strong recovery in 2015 so far, with a 32.4% uplift in output.

Britain’s commercial vehicle manufacturing industry continued its strong recovery in July, with production volumes up 46.3% over the same month last year. A total of 9,274 CVs were built in the month, with output for the UK market posting an especially strong gain of 137.6%.

July’s figures are a continuation of the recovery made by the sector throughout 2015, which has seen production levels grow by a third to 57,967 units. Volumes last year were impacted by some restructuring within the industry, as well as a spike in truck demand in 2013 related to type approval changes. This year’s growth comes off the back of increasing demand both domestically and abroad for UK-built CVs.

“The commercial vehicle manufacturing sector’s impressive performance in July is further welcome evidence of its ongoing return to form,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “After a difficult year of regulatory upheaval, we’re now seeing demand for British-built vans, trucks and buses bounce back as fleet renewal patterns return to normal and the online delivery market continues to grow.”

CV 1 Jul 15

CV 2 Jul 15

Source: SMMT

New car registrations grow steadily as ultra-low emission vehicles surge past 10k mark


Figures released this week by SMMT show a steady 2.4% growth in the UK new car market, accompanied by a strong surge in demand for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).

11,842 ULEVs were registered between January and May – a four-fold rise on the 2,838 registrations in the same period last year. The growth is further evidence of UK car buyers’ increasing awareness of the significant benefits of driving a ULEV, as they look to reduce their running costs and environmental impact. Motorists can now choose from a diverse range of around 20 ULEVs, compared to just six in 2011.

The rise in overall new car registrations, meanwhile, marks the 39th consecutive month of growth in the market. More than one million cars have been registered in 2015 as a range of new products and attractive finance deals with low interest rates continue to draw buyers to showrooms. With many purchases on a three-year replacement cycle, new cars bought as the recession ended are now being replaced. Read more here.

Heavier vehicles in every segment continue to drive buoyant van and truck market

Commercial vehicle registrations rose 17.4% in May to 31,922 units. Last month marked the fifth consecutive month of growth for the truck market, while van registrations hit the 150,000 milestone. The biggest gains in the month were again made by the heavier end of the van and rigid truck markets.

New bus and coach registrations also performed strongly in May, with demand increasing 21.1%. This was driven by growth in the purpose-built coach market, as operators continue to invest in new models ahead of the British summer getaway.

Source: SMMT

UK car manufacturing defies export challenges with year of growth

  • 1,528,148 cars manufactured in the UK in 2014 – a 1.2% increase on the previous year and the best year since 2007.
  • Strongest December in a decade saw 108,721 cars produced, up 27.1% on December 2013.
  • Growth comes despite challenges in some export markets.
  • Output for the UK market matched the growth in overall UK registrations, rising 8.0%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Placed in context, a 1.2% growth in UK car manufacturing in 2014 represents a very successful year. The industry has overcome various challenges, including slower than expected EU recovery and weakness in some global markets.

“More than £7 billion of investment into UK production facilities has been announced in the past two years, and we are now seeing the effects as new models begin production – with more expected in 2015. UK car manufacturing is now more diverse than ever, with a unique combination of volume, premium and specialist brands giving our products truly global appeal. This is epitomised by the doubling of car export values in the decade from 2005 to 2014.”

UK car manufacturing December 2014 and full year 2014

Business Secretary Vince Cable said, “These production figures are testament to the strength of our automotive industry, and show that even in tough economic conditions it continues to be one of the driving forces behind our economic recovery. From Sunderland to Goodwood, Britain is turning out cars that are in demand all around the world.

“The UK’s automotive industry is thriving with a new car rolling off the production line every 20 seconds, while increasing levels of investment are helping to secure local jobs. Through the government’s industrial strategy we are backing the automotive industry as it goes from strength to strength.”

UK car manufacturing

UK car export destinations by volume – 2007 vs. 2014 (to Q3)

 UK car export destinations by volume – 2007 vs. 2014 (to Q3)

A key strength of UK car manufacturing is its diversity, with a mix of volume, premium and specialist products in high demand around the world. The proportion of premium and specialist cars, in particular, has grown in the past decade, leading to increasing demand outside the EU (above). China is now the UK’s second-largest market outside the EU, accounting for around 12% of exports in 2014 compared with just 1% in 2007.

UK car export values, 2004-2014 (Source: ONS)

UK car export values, 2004-2014 (Source: ONS)

Another result of an increasingly diverse product mix is a rapid rise in value. In 2004, the wholesale value of UK car exports was around £12 billion; this has doubled to more than £26 billion in 2014, despite a similar number of cars exported. The average car exported in 2004 was worth £10,200, compared to £21,800 in 2014.

Click through to download the UK car manufacturing news release for December 2014.

World new car sales growth continues in April

Polk data shows global new car registrations growth continue in April

Posted at 11:48 on 23 May 2014.

Based on results, which are preliminary in some cases, passenger vehicle registrations were up 4.6% in April. In the first four months of the year, new registrations were up by around 1.54 million units over last year, up 6.1%.

Data table Polk April

The Asia/Pacific region posted the strongest growth, up 6.7%. The Thai market continues to suffer from the after-effects of an incentive program. After strong sales in the first quarter, the Japanese market slumped after an increase in the VAT rate in April. In China, however, car sales were up by more than 200,000 units, 16.5%.

The NAFTA region posted a 9.7% gain in April, for a gain of 4.7% in the year-to-date. Demand in the US suffered at the start of the year due to severe winter weather in the northeast.

Registrations in Latin America were down 8.8% in the month and 3.0% for the year-to-date. Sales in the region’s two largest markets, Argentina and Brazil, fell sharply.

Western Europe registrations were up 3.7% in April,  with  year-to-date up 6.3%. Spain, up 28.7% in the month, posted the strongest gain, but the UK and France also performed strongly.

The slumps in Turkey, down 25.0%, and Russia, down 8.0%, weighed down the Eastern European market last month, as registrations fell 7.5% in the month and 3.1% for the year.

2014: New registrations expected to be 78.6 million units

Global new registrations are again expected to set a new record in 2014, growing by around 4.0% over 2013.

Graph Polk April

New registrations in the Asia/Pacific region are forecast to increase by more than 5.5% in 2014 compared to 2013. In China alone, sales in the current year will be up over 1.6 million units from the year before.

The NAFTA region is also expected to continue to climb, to around 19.1 million units, up 4.8%. Sales in the Latin American markets, on the other hand, will fall to about 5.9 million units down 1.5%.

The slump in Eastern Europe is expected to be more severe, down 4.1%. Sales in the regions second-largest market Turkey, are forecast to fall.

Passenger vehicle demand in Western Europe, on the other hand, are forecast to rise in 2014,  up 4.0%, as gains in key markets like the UK and Germany, as well as in Southern Europe, will more than make up for losses in relatively smaller markets like the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria.

Source: SMMT

UK automotive manufacturing preparing to step up a gear

The UK automotive manufacturing industry is already responding to Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget announcement, which called for the country to produce and export more. This week, a number  of car, commercial vehicle and engine manufacturers  have announced new investments and business contracts.

Investing in automotive manufacturing

JLR's new press in Halewood

JLR’s new 7,900 tonne press in Halewood

Jaguar Land Rover announced a £45 million investment in a new state-of the-art servo press line at its Halewood facility. The investment includes the installation of a 7,900 tonne stamping machine, which will provide greater speed and flexibility in the production of parts.

Jaguar Land Rover’s body shops across the UK are currently working around the clock to fulfil customer orders, with Halewood producing two of its highest-selling vehicles, the Land Rover Freelander and Range Rover Evoque for more than 170 countries.

Bentley has also announced that it will employ a further 100 people at its facility in Crewe as it becomes a centre of excellence for the W12 engine, which it will begin exporting to other manufacturers in the Volkswagen Group. The recruitment drive is part of an £800 million investment pledged by Bentley earlier in the year.

Bentley to become W12 centre of excellence

Bentley to become W12 centre of excellence

Increasing commercial vehicle demand

UK bus and coach manufacturer, Alexander Dennis, has today signed a £100m deal to produce 600 vehicles for National Express over the next five years. The deal will see the Falkirk-based manufacturer deliver more than 100 low-emission buses in 2014, with 125 additional vehicles following each year until 2018.

With its turnover tripled in 2013 to £500 million, Alexander Dennis employs 2,300 globally, 900 of which are based in Falkirk.

Outlook for UK automotive manufacturing

In line with yesterday’s budget announcement, the UK automotive industry expects to increase its manufacturing might in the coming years. It is predicted that by 2017, the UK will produce more than two million cars per year – higher than its all-time record of 1.92 million in 1972.

This year, a host of new models will begin production from the new MINI in Oxford and new Qashqai in Sunderland to Vauxhall’s new Vivaro van in Luton.  In 2015 the UK will see a new brand introduced to domestic production as Infiniti starts building new models in Sunderland, while Jaguar Land Rover will open its first dedicated engine facility in Wolverhampton.

Source: SMMT

UK car manufacturing hits six-year high

Car production rose 3.1% in 2013 to surpass 1.5 million units – the highest volume since 2007.

  • Industry analysts predict output to reach record levels of around two million units by 2017.
  • UK could become the third largest car manufacturer in Europe.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “2013 demonstrated the value of the UK’s diverse car manufacturing industry, as surging home demand and robust exports outside Europe saw output grow 3.1% to over 1.5 million units. UK automotive investment announcements exceeded £2.5 billion in 2013, reinforcing industry analysts’ suggestions that the UK could break all-time car output records within the next four years.”

UK car manufacturing (selected years with AutoAnalysis forecasts 2014-2017)

Note: 1972 is currently the record year for car output (1.92 million cars)
Manufacturing graph 1

Business Secretary Vince Cable said, “Today’s figures are another sign that the British car industry is going from strength to strength – with one vehicle rolling off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds.

“Our success lies in the appetite from countries around the world for British cars. Around 80% of the 1.5 million cars we produced last year were exported – a testament to the diverse, high quality of British manufacturing.

“It also highlights the benefits of industry and government working together and we want to continue this partnership through a long-term strategy. This will give businesses the confidence to invest, speed up development on vehicles of the future and keep the UK as a world leader in cars. Our investment of £1bn jointly with industry will help do this, while also delivering jobs and driving growth.”


Dec 13 Car graph

UK car exports – to EU and other destinations, 2009-2013 (*2013 is Q1-3 only)

Manufacturing graph 2


Since 2009, the variety of cars produced in the UK has been underlined by a marked change in export destinations.

While the European market has struggled with tough economic conditions, overall export volumes have been bolstered by strong growth in demand for UK-built cars in other locations.

Top five non-EU export destinations, 2009-2013 (*2013 is Q1-3 only)

Manufacturing graph 3

China’s share of exports has grown rapidly over recent years, and the country now looks set to become the largest non-EU market for UK-built cars.

Take-up in the United States remained strong last year, and while Russia has seen volumes fall since 2012, it is now firmly established as a key export destination.

Source: SMMT