UK car market hits best February since 2004 image

New car registrations continued the positive start of 2016 in Britain, reaching the highest February sales volume in 12 years.

The UK new car market reported an 8.4 percent growth last month, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to new figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. 83,395 new vehicles were registered, marking the biggest February since 2004. Demand was up across all fuel types, with diesel and petrol registrations growing by 5.6 percent and 10.7 percent respectively, while alternatively-fuelled vehicles enjoyed an uplift of 19.9 percent. Fleet demand dipped slightly by 1.4 percent compared with the private sector, but still retained its 53.1 percent majority share of new vehicles. There was a 22.6 percent increase for privately purchased new cars compared with February 2015.

The best-selling model last month was the Ford Fiesta, with 4,507 units registered, followed by the 2,574 Volkswagen Golf models sold. Strong demand was also reported for Nissan Qashqai, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Focus. The February results are a continuation of the solid start of the year, during which sales went up 2.9 percent. “February is typically one of the quietest months of the year, ahead of March’s plate change, but this positive performance is encouraging and puts the sector in a good position for the coming 12 months,” Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said.