RAC Cars News


Record breaking new car sales in the UK

By raccars Published

Ford Focus

Halfway through 2016 new car sales figures are at their highest ever in the UK.

First half year new car sales figures are in for 2016, showing an increase of 3.2 per cent year on year and the strongest half year sales total ever. By the end of June, 1,420,636 new cars had been sold in the UK, even though sales were down by 0.8 per cent last month compared to the same period in 2015. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has long been predicting a return to stability after record sales were achieved in 2015.

New car sales growth across all fuel types

The alternatively fuelled vehicles sector has grown to a 3.2 per cent market share, with sales up by 21.3 per cent year on year. Despite controversy, diesel car sales are up by 2.3 per cent and petrol car sales rose by 3.0 per cent. Private sales have dropped by 4.5 per cent but are compensated for by exactly the same percentage of growth in the fleet sales sector.

The fallout from Brexit and a return to stability

The SMMT has declined to comment on the effect of the Brexit referendum result on the new car market as it believes it is too soon to record any impact. However the society does predict that the reverberations from the Brexit vote will contribute to a market slowdown over the current quarter.

The Ford Fiesta remains at the top

June new car sales reached 255,766 units, with some shuffling among the top ten bestsellers. The Ford Fiesta maintains its usual lead but the previous month's second best seller, the VW Golf, went down to fourth in June, allowing the Vauxhall Corsa to take second place and the Ford Focus third.

The Mini had a good June, going into fifth followed by the Nissan Qashqai in sixth. The Vauxhall Astra was June's seventh best seller, the Volkswagen Polo was eighth, and the Vauxhall Mokka and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class rounded out the top ten. Year to date sales are identical for the first four places, while the remaining six show the same cars but in slightly different places.

Jaguar Land Rover records record growth

Mercedes-Benz's compact executive car has contributed in no small part to the German firm seeing some 20 per cent growth this year. Jaguar Land Rover has also enjoyed a successful first half of 2016, with Jaguar registrations up 67 per cent year on year and Land Rover up 17 per cent. Nissan and Mitsubishi suffered a decline in June, partly due to their recent emissions scandal.

Automotive turnover reached a record high in 2015

Meanwhile the SMMT has been examining automotive industry data from 2015, which shows that turnover in the car manufacturing sector reached £71.6 billion last year, a record high. Vehicle production and sales together with employment in the sector all grew, while significant reductions in manufacturing waste plus energy and water use were reported.

Automotive adds value to the UK economy

However the SMMT has cautioned that access to the single market and international talent are crucial to the UK automotive industry's ability to maintain its success. The automotive sector contributed about £18.9 billion to the UK economy last year and made up about 12 per cent of the UK's total spend on research and development, a record figure of about £2.5 billion. Automotive accounted for some 814,000 jobs in the UK, including 17,000 new positions last year.

So far this year manufacturing output has grown by about 10 per cent.

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