RAC Cars News


Record New Car Sales Once Again In February

By raccars Published

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February marked 36 consecutive months of growth for the UK new car industry, the longest growth period in its history. The SMMT's monthly new car sales report showed that 76,958 new cars registered last month, for 12% year on year growth.

The figures are all the more impressive as February is traditionally a quiet month, with buyers preferring to wait for March's new plates. However, fleet sales were a key factor this February, up by almost 20% compared to only 3.4% in the private market.

The current figures far outstrip the previous record for sustained growth in the UK auto industry, which was for 26 months in the late Eighties.

Three continuous years of growth in new car sales reflects renewed consumer confidence in the UK's recovery from recession, while the increase in fleet sales last month shows that businesses are also doing well. One in three of the last 36 months saw growth increase at double digit level. However, once again, the SMMT predicted a return to stability within months. Exciting new product ranges and generous finance deals are still believed to be a large factor driving the market.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles were another sector demonstrating strong growth, year on year, with plug in hybrids and full EV sales up by 52.8%. Despite the recent tide of diesel news stories, petrol's market share is down 6.5% on last year's, while diesel has increased its market share in 2015 by 16.5%.

The Ford Fiesta continues to rule the roost, although by a slightly lower margin in February with 4,096 unit sales. That's less than a thousand units more than the second place Volkswagen Golf, with sales of 3,177. The new Vauxhall Corsa, after a stellar start in December, appears to have left buyers disillusioned as it dropped to third place last month, with only 2,830 unit sales - Vauxhall must be hoping this is a temporary blip, with buyers waiting for new registration plates, out this month.

The Vauxhall Astra came in fourth in February, selling 2,396 units, and the Ford Focus was fifth with 2,021. The Nissan Qashqai was back in its comfort zone in sixth place with 1,800 unit sales, followed by the Vauxhall Insignia at 1,797. Eighth place went to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class for 1,686 sales, ninth to the Audi A3 with 1,609, while the Fiat 500 was Britain's tenth best selling car in February on1,436.

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