Currently reading: Strong UK car market growth spurred on by alternatively fuelled vehicles
This Jan’s car sales were up 2.9% on the year before; demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles grew by 19.9%
Sam Sheehan
2 mins read
6 February 2017

UK new car sales reached their highest level for more than a decade in January, with 174,564 new cars registered in the first four weeks of 2017.

That’s the biggest number of sales recorded in Britain since 2005, and represents a year-on-year growth of 2.9%.

It has been spurred on by a significant increase in demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles, with 7279 sales accounting for 4.2% of demand overall and representing a 19.9% increase on January 2016.

Conversely, diesel cars saw a 4.3% drop in sales compared to the year before, but petrol rose by 8.9% - representing 50.7% of sales with 88,507 models sold across the month.

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Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes acknowledged the importance of alternatively fuelled cars in ensuring the UK market stayed strong. He said: “It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this positive growth, reaching a record market share.

“After record growth in 2016, some cooling is anticipated over the coming months, but provided interest rates remain low and the economy stable, the market is in a good position to withstand its short-term challenges.”

The Ford Fiesta remained Britain’s most bought car, with 8495 sales ensuring it easily beat the Volkswagen Golf, which sold in 5455 units to finish second. The Ford Focus was third best, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class ranked fourth.

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In terms of market spread, private purchases were up by 5% and represented 44% of all sales. Fleet saw a small increase by 1.4%, but business sales dropped by 1%, representing just 4% of the total market.

The month as a whole continued a steady trend of growth in overall January car sales that’s been in place since 2011. The highest levels ever reached in the month were in 2002, when more than 200,000 cars were sold.


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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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6 February 2017
What would it take to knock that car off the top spot, normally sales die back when a new model is about to be launched but it seems to be going the other way with the gap ever widening.
C Class in 4th, where'd that come from, are they giving away. I'm sure it's a great car but with regards to volume you'd have thought Mercedes would want/push the A class into that spot.

6 February 2017
Top 4 all imported from Germany. Brexit will not only hurt "British" manufacturers, but also hurt Ford, VW & the like very hard, also the British consumer will end up paying a lot more.
I wonder what the 2019 sales figures will be like, or is sales boom going to last 'till then???

6 February 2017
Its likely that the numbers are swelled by people getting their low tax cars before 1st April. This would also help the alternative fuel numbers, although i would assume most of them to be company purchases, and not influenced in the same way

6 February 2017
Most "alternative fuel" Vehicles are not that at all, they are just petrol or diesel hybrids with energy recovery. It's a perfectly good technology, but the SMMT announcement gives a rather distorted picture of the truth, which is that nearly all cars sold still rely on petrol or diesel fuelled ic engines.

6 February 2017
What dumb idiot buys a new car in January when the new 17 registration is merely weeks away.

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