New car registrations up by 8.4% on February 2015; Ford Fiesta remains UK’s best-seller

UK car registrations reached a 12-year high last month when 83,395 new vehicles were registered, 8.4% up on February 2015. The figures, published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), revealed it was the UK market’s strongest February since 2004. 

The spike has been fuelled by demand from private buyers: there was a 22.6% increase in demand for privately purchased new cars compared with February 2015.

Alternatively-fuelled vehicles saw the fastest growth, however, with 2,221 registrations, representing a 19.9% increase in demand over the same month last year, while petrol and diesel vehicles accounted for 81,174 sales, representing growth of 10.7% and 5.6% respectively.

There was a small decrease of 1.4% in demand for fleet cars, but the sector still accounted for majority (53.1%) of new registrations.

The best-selling car of February was the Ford Fiesta, with 4507 new models registered in the month. It comfortably beat the second best-selling car, the Volkswagen Golf, which sold in 2574 units. Other big sellers included the Nissan Qashqai, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Focus.

Since the year began, a total of 253,073 car registrations have been recorded, up 4.7% on the same period from the year before. The fastest growing category so far this year is the alternatively-fuelled sector, which has experienced a 28.6% increase; petrol-engined car sales increased by 5.9% and diesel sales were up 2.2%.

The February results continue on from a strong January, during which sales were up 2.9% on the year before.

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

The announcement comes just 24 hours after the SMMT held a press conference with UK motor industry leaders in support of Britain remaining in Europe.

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

Join the debate

Comments
10

4 March 2016

Dear Autocar, why not be brave and show the whole table. Have SMMT got you in their pockets so deep that they're only let you show the top 10 for basically DVLA supplied information.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

4 March 2016

How much of this growth is driven by PCP and other financial products? I'm guessing we're going to see an implosion in the next two to three years. The likes of VAG bank seem very lax in whom they lend to.

4 March 2016
Here's my name again wrote:

How much of this growth is driven by PCP and other financial products? I'm guessing we're going to see an implosion in the next two to three years. The likes of VAG bank seem very lax in whom they lend to.

I'd guess a large percentage. Nearly everyone I talk to who's in the market for a new car seems to be going down the PCP route. Affordable monthly payments to get the model you desire now, and the possibility to trade up for only a small increase in 2 or 3 years time are the important things, never actually owning the car is not.

4 March 2016

The usual culprits in the top 10 but never would I have guessed Kia Sportage? The car is coming up for replacement. It's not cheap, it's not particularly fuel efficient, it's not particularly environmentally friendly, it wears a rather old school interior - I just can't fathom out why it's top 10. Put it another way, Kia's sister company Hyundai recently released their new Tucson which betters the old Sportage in every way and a car that has proved to be very successful, or at least I see at least one every day. 65' plate Sportage's? I might have seen one this year. Top 10? Are you sure? Perhaps they were all registered by Kia.

4 March 2016
scotty5 wrote:

..... 65' plate Sportage's? I might have seen one this year. Top 10? Are you sure? Perhaps they were all registered by Kia.

It's only one month (a sell-off of old stock), it won't make much difference to the numbers you see everyday.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

4 March 2016

My goodness, what a dreary list of cars in the top 10. Brits really have no imagination.

4 March 2016

That little plug for the Britain in Europe campaign nearly went unnoticed !
Do you have anything to add to this pathetic copy & paste style journalism, do you have any opinions of your own or is that not allowed? come on AutoCar this is not the Daily Fail.
How about a nice little mug shot Sam so we can all see the colour of your nose.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

4 March 2016

Would be nice to see the bottom 10 as well...

ScottishRichard

4 March 2016

Would be nice to see the bottom 10 as well...

ScottishRichard

5 March 2016

Just noticed that there are now three SUVs in the best sellers. Every car maker is scrambling to bulk up their line-up with more SUVs. Future top 10 could even dominated by the SUVs of all hue and size.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week