2015 was an all-time record year for car registrations, and that has to be good news - but it's worth bearing in mind that car registrations and car sales are very different things.
Just how different became apparent last October, when a 43-month run of registration growth hit a sudden bump. Why? There were many factors, but the biggest, say insiders, was that the industry had feasted on self-registering in the all-important plate change month of September and, therefore, had rather a lot of cars left on the forecourts to shift before they could start registering more.
Indigestion had set in, if you will, much to the irritation of dealers who'd been pressured to register the sales and were now faced with shifting the cut-price stock.
Manufacturers instigate this process for all sorts of reasons, some related to winning bragging rights in sales charts and some around keeping stock shifting as it pours out of the factories unsold. With the Pound so strong against the Euro, UK sales teams have also felt the pressure from head offices around the world to shift stock at less ruinous discounts than would be necessary in other countries.
It paints a distorted picture of the state of car sales, though. Today's news is undoubtedly good news - strong consumer confidence, great products and the availability of cheap loan deals undoubtedly mean the car industry is booming in this country.