Currently reading: UK's new car market breaks more records in March
SMMT figures show that almost half a million new cars were sold in the UK last month, the highest number since 1999

Almost half a million new cars were sold in the UK last month, new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed.

In total, 492,774 new cars were sold in March, the highest number since 1999 and up by 6% on the same period last year. Fleet buyers continue to drive growth, accounting for 44.5% of the last month's UK new car sales.

Sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, also continue to rise, with 14,335 units sold in March - a rise of more than 60% on the same period in 2014.

The SMMT says the 37th consecutive month of growth is down to a continuing demand for newer, more fuel-efficient models and advanced technologies.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The best month this century for new car registrations is a welcome boost for the UK’s thriving automotive sector. The challenge for a new government and industry will be to maintain this momentum and to strengthen Britain’s manufacturing capabilities through continued investment, innovation and policies which maintain our global competitiveness.”

UK’s best-selling cars in March 2015

1 - Ford Fiesta 27,034 units sold

2 - Vauxhall Corsa 19,391

3 - Ford Focus 15,442

4 - Nissan Qashqai 12,210

5 - Volkswagen Golf 11,871

6 - Volkswagen Polo 10,038

7 - Vauxhall Astra 9617

8 - Audi A3 9101

9 - Mercedes-Benz C-Class 8755

10 - Fiat 500 8662

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:


Read our review

Car review

Its 47-year tenure as a new car might be over, but the icon lives on as a cheap, fun used buy

Join the debate

Add a comment…
RedRob 9 April 2015


Moparman - In the UK, the new plate triggers a decent rise in used car values - a car registered on March 1st 2015 (so a 15 plate) will make noticeably more in the used market in 2 or 3 years time than an identical one registered on February 28th (so a 64 plate), even though the latter is only 1 day older. As a result, many leasing and finance companies will discourage February deliveries, either through stronger residual values for March cars, or by allowing a free/reduced rate contract extension.
VX220EDDIE 9 April 2015


id like to see figures for the 4 nations, certainly in Scotland i have seen lots of 15 plate Mokka's, maybe not so popular south of the border?
Moparman 8 April 2015

Contrary to what the opinon piece on here the other week said

It would seem that the March plate change still garners a great deal of interest to the buying public. However, unless they get really great discounts to offset the costs, it makes no sense that a fleet would want to buy a new plate instead of getting a deal on remaining old plate models. Perhaps they order them before at the lower prices and only take delivery in March and September? Not being from the U.K. it just doesn't make sense any other way.