The UK new car market achieved a 12-year high in January with a 2.9% year-on-year uplift, the highest level since 2005.
That’s according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) who found that 174,564 vehicles left showrooms last month compared to 169,678 in January 2016.
Significantly, however, the alternatively fuelled vehicle segment grew 19.9% to take a record 4.2% market share - the first time 4% has been surpassed. Across other fuel types there was a mixed picture with diesel registrations down -4.3% but new car registrations of petrol cars grew 8.9%.
Across the market, private motorists led the growth, registering 76,729 new cars – up 5.0%. Fleet demand also grew marginally by 1.4%, while business registrations fell by -1.0%.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “2017 got off to a good start in the new car market, buoyed by a great range of new models which are safer and cleaner than ever before. It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this positive growth, reaching a record market share. After record growth in 2016, some cooling is anticipated over the coming months, but provided interest rates remain low and the economy stable, the market is in a good position to withstand its short-term challenges.”