The new car market in the UK achieved a fifth year of consecutive growth in 2016

Here we have a great overview of all the facts and figures for new car registrations in a record-breaking 2016 for the new car market

  • Thanks to new car model releases and attractive finance deals drive the market to new high with fifth consecutive year of growth.
  • December saw a slight fall and was only the second month of negative growth in the last 12 months, as registrations fell by 1.1% to 178,022 units.
  • Highest number of new cars sold in a Calendar year, with 2,692,786 new cars registered in 2016, a rise of 2.3% compared to 2015.

ford fiesta's in car park


It was a record-breaking year for the new car market in 2016, registrations increased for the fifth year in a row and nearly tipped 2.7 million when looking at figures rolled out by the SMMT. Only on 2 occasions over the last 12 months did growth fail to prevail, with December being one of the months and we saw a slight drop of 1.1% compared to last year. A total of 178,022 cars were registered in December 2016 – A great high considering the doom and gloom predictions following Brexit.

The Record year is in part down to UK buyers having a vast choice of new models to choose from and also very attractive finance packages made available by all manufacturers. New Car Registrations reached an astronomical 2.69 million for the year. Here in the UK we are more than just spoilt for choice when it comes to buying a new car, with 400 different models available from over 40 manufacturers. 2017 with see the launch of a further 70 models in the UK Car market, this makes the prospects for the new year very promising going forward.

The Fleet side of new car registrations has seen rises month on month for most of the year, propping up total figures – even when retail registration fell short, the fleet side of new car sales carried them to show year on year increases. Fleet sales rose to a record 1.38 million for 2016, while retails figures stood at 1.2 million, which was also a new record on its own. The final three months of 2016 saw a small decrease as momentum started to curve, but private customers continued to take advantage of the low interest finance deals available together with the flexible payment choices.

Petrol and diesel fueled vehicles followed trend by being the most popular choice of car for the year, with petrol the market share was 49 percent and diesel’s was 47.7 percent. Alternatively fueled cars such as electric and hybrid variants increased by 22%, with sales plug-in hybrids up nearly 42 percent for the year. The impressive figure for full electric cars was that registrations surpassed 10,000 for 2016, which was an increase of 3.3 percent.

December saw the Ford Fiesta bring home the prize of the best-selling car in the UK once again, with just under 8,200 registrations for December. Vauxhall just up to 2nd place with the Astra, as new finance incentives for December attracted masses of customers. 3rd and 4th place were populated by the ever consistant VW Golf and one the UK's favourite family hatchbacks in the shape of the Ford Focus. Mini managed to sneak into 5th place, while Vauxhall and VW took the next two places with the Corsa and Polo. Rounding out the top 10 selling cars for December were the Nissan Juke, Nissan Qashqai and last of all the Mercedes-Benz C-class filled the no.10 spot. 


Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, had the following to say about 2016 registrations -

"Despite 2016’s political and economic uncertainties, the UK’s new car market delivered another record performance as car makers offered an incredible range of innovative and high tech models. 2017 may well be more challenging as sterling depreciation raises the price of imported goods but, with interest rates still at historic lows and a range of new models arriving in 2017, there are still many reasons for consumers to consider a new car in 2017. Looking longer term, the strength of this market will rest on our ability to maintain our current trading relations and, in particular, avoid tariff barriers which could add significantly to the cost of a new car".

The new 17 Plate is due to land on the 1st March 2017 and we are already taking orders in anticipation of a record month for the UK. You can take a look at all our 17 Plate new car deals from our home page or you can just click the link below to save yourself £thousands off the price of a new 17 plate Ford Fiesta, VW Golf, Nissan Qashqai, Mazda 6, Ford Mondeo, Skoda Octavia, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV or even a brand new Toyota CH-R.