Currently reading: UK new car sales rise in May 2016
Official figures show 203,585 vehicles were registered in May - that's up on the previous month and the highest May figure since 2002 - with fleet registrations driving growth

Last month saw steady growth in the overall new car market of 2.5% in the UK, hitting its highest total for the month of May since 2002.

Fleet registrations, again, have driven the growth, providing an 8.8% rise in sales, which counterbalances a 3.0% fall in private registrations.

Society of Motoring, Manufacturing and Traders (SMMT) figures show that there was 12.1% increase in the purchase of alternatively fuelled vehicles in May. Diesel-powered vehicle sales also grew, by 5.0%, while petrol models declined slightly, by 0.6%.

The highest-selling car for May, and the best-selling car of the year so far, was the Ford Fiesta, with 52,476 sales in the UK so far in 2016. Despite the Volkswagen Golf being the second best selling vehicle for May, this year, Vauxhall’s Vauxhall Corsa model is the second best selling model of the year with 33,519 sales so far (the Corsa was the fourth best-selling model in May).

That said, Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda have all suffered a slight year-on-year drop compared with the same period in 2015.

Ford’s Focus was also in the top three of the best-selling cars in May – while maintaining third spot for the year, despite suffering an overall drop in sales for 2016 compared with the same period last year (down from 144,095 to 140,948).

Citroën suffered the biggest year-on-year drop based on its 38,017 registrations for the year to May 2015 (31,776 sales for 2016), despite a month-on-month increase of 91 sales.

Overall sales for 2016 now sit at 1,164,870 registrations – 4.1% more than the same time last year.

The SMMT added that while growth is growth, May represents the second consecutive month of a sub 3% growth in registrations – something it says is evidence of increasing market stability.

Danni Bagnall

Advertisement

Read our review

Car review
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
6
Add a comment…
androo 6 June 2016

Not entirely surprising about Citroen

They desperately need the new suspension system to make people interested again. Plus they need some up-to-date models to catch people's eye and they haven't got much in the range apart from the C4 Cactus to do that. The new C3 may help. A new C4 would help even more. Both models are stale. And the lack anything to compete in the SUV market, though I understand that will be sorted quite soon. Would like to know how much difference the removal of DS models from Citroen's stats has made.
289 9 June 2016

@ androo

...1478 units last month....7664 ytd.
LP in Brighton 6 June 2016

Great news

Great for the industry, great for consumers, but not so good if you're one of the many stuck in a jam or trying to find somewhere to park. But it's inevitable really with so much overproduction and cars cheaper than they have ever been relative to everything else. With new cars costing as little as 3 months average wages, why put up with something secondhand.
But here's a suggestion - why not publish monthly scrappage figures alongside new registrations, then we'd know the real story?
289 6 June 2016

@ LP in Brighton

...Good idea....and Autocar....also publish the pre reg report too. Then we would have the complete picture.
xxxx 6 June 2016

Citroën suffered the biggest year-on-year drop

With their stale line up and removal of DS sales things will get a lot worse before, maybe, improving
289 6 June 2016

Your Citroen figures are incorrect Autocar

To compare year on year figures you should add Citroen and DS together as they were in 2015, In which case they are over a thousand units up on this time last year.
Citroen have split off the two brands from a reporting point of view now.