More than 2.6m cars were registered in the UK in 2015, the highest number ever recorded. The previous record was in 2003, when 2.58m were registered.
The exact figure is expected to be released later today, according to industry body the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with individual results for brands revealed at the same time. 2.6m registrations represents a year-on-year sales rise of around 6%, with fleet sales growth outstripping retail growth.
Results for the VW Group brands affected by the emissions scandals - Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW - are likely to come under particular scrutiny. However, Autocar has already published preliminary figures for all manufacturers.
Although Volkswagen’s market share shrunk slightly, it actually registered more new cars in the UK in 2015: 223,784, compared with 214,828 the previous year. Over the course of 2015 Volkswagen sold more new cars in the UK than in any previous year.
This could infer that it is still selling strongly in the private sector, indicating that the effect of the dieselgate scandal on customer confidence in the brand has been negligible.
It was a similar story at Audi. Its share of the market fell from 6.42% in 2014 to 6.33% this term. However, it registered 166,709 cars compared with 158,987 the previous year.
Seat fared less well, with its market share shrinking from 2.16% to 1.81%, and it also registered fewer new cars – 47,654 against 53,512 in 2014.
Skoda registered just 796 fewer cars in 2015 than it did the previous year, at 74,692, and its market share decreased from 3.05% to 2.84%.
The DS brand, recently spun off from Citroën, makes its first appearance on the sales charts. It registered 8614 new cars during 2015. That also accounts for a fall in market share for Citroën itself, from 3.37% in 2014 to 3.04% this year.
There was good news for fellow French manufacturer Renault, which registered 75,618 new cars compared with 66,334 and grew its market share by 0.19% to 2.87%. That's a four-year high for the company. Renault’s growth was driven by its success with the Clio hatchback, Captur crossover and Zoe electric vehicle. The Kadjar family crossover also contributed by bolstering the brand’s C-segment line-up. Renault’s competitively priced Dacia brand continued its steady growth.
BMW grew its market share by 0.35% to 6.36%, registering 167,391 new cars during the year. Fiat’s share of the market reduced by 0.27% to 2.44%. Ford also lost a little market share, down by 0.46% compared with 2014, but registered the most vehicles of any manufacturer, with a total of 335,267 new cars being added.
Land Rover posted a market share gain of 0.26%, and Jaguar went up by 0.17%, with the former registering 76,837 new cars and the latter 23,954 (up from 18,401).