The UK's new car market continued to grow last month, with demand for low-emission vehicles creating a sales surge

The UK’s new car market continued to grow in May, new figures released by the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed.

As well as marking the 39th consecutive month of growth in the new car market, the figures also show a surge in the demand for ultra-low-emission vehicles (ULEVs), including plug-in hybrids and electric cars.

In total, more than 1.1 million vehicles have been registered in the first five months of the year, with 198,706 of those coming in May alone.

Most interesting, however, is the fact that 11,842 ultra-low-emission vehicles were registered last month, a four-fold increase on the same period last year.

The SMMT says the rise is down to better consumer awareness of the benefits of ULEVs, as well as a wider choice. Just six ULEVs were available to choose from in 2011, compared to around 20 today.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The remarkable growth in demand for plug-in vehicles is expected to continue as the range of ultra-low-emission vehicles on sale increases. Meanwhile, we anticipate a natural levelling out of the overall new car market throughout the remainder of 2015.”

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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

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UK's best-selling cars in May 2015

1 - Ford Fiesta 9349 units registered

2  - Ford Focus 7355

3 - Vauxhall Corsa 6513

4 - Volkswagen Golf 5897

5 - Vauxhall Astra 4916

6 - Mini 4095

7 - Volkswagen Polo 4028

8 - Audi A3 3999

9 - Nissan Qashqai 3978

10 - Nissan Juke 3897

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Comments
3

4 June 2015
It would be interesting to see the sales breakdown for the ULEvs sold. How many are genuinely low emission, and how many are cars which scrape below 100gm/km in the flawed EU test? I suspect that the vast majority are petrol-electric hybrids and small diesels, with relatively few electric cars making up the numbers. And even then, these models account for just one in 20 new cars sold, so any benefit must be negligible in the context of the whole UK fleet which still contines to expand at an alarming rate.

4 June 2015
That the full stats. aren't made public, you have to pay to get them despite it being data collected by a goverment body. Freedom of information act anyone? or could some with access publish the statistics of Car MODEL sales (not the manufacturer sales statistics)

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

6 June 2015
Good to see buyers turning to the new technologies. The deadly hold of diesel on new car sales needs to loosen up. Half the buyers are buying them led by the Judas lamb. My partner almost joined the wrong crowd last week. Luckily sense prevailed. So the ULEVs now make up a healthy 6% of the new car sales. Not bad. More will see sense. Just a matter of time.

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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

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week