2013 best year for UK new car sales since 2007

Posted on 8 Jan 2014 by Tim Brown

The UK market for new cars recorded its best performance for five years in 2013 with over 2.26 million vehicles registered, up 10.8% on 2012 and exceeding SMMT’s 2.25 million forecast for the year.

The figures, released yesterday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), showed the annual number of new car registrations for 2013 was the highest since 2007 while December delivered the 22nd consecutive monthly rise.

Two out of the top 10 selling cars for 2013, the Vauxhall Astra (4th) and the Nissan Qashqai (6th), are made in the UK, while the Ford Fiesta was the UK’s best selling car.

According to the SMMT, the top selling cars reflect that since 2008, the UK market has seen a shift away from the Upper Medium segment towards smaller cars in the Mini and Supermini segments, as well as the MPV and Dual Purpose segments.

Registrations of hybrid and plug-in cars rose 17.5% in 2013 to 32,727 units but didn’t increase it’s 1.4% stake of the total market. In 2011, plug-in vehicles (pure electric, plug-in hybrids and range extenders) accounted for 4.7% of alternative fuel vehicle sales; this increased to 12.3% in 2013. Within the past two years the number of plug-in models on sale has increased from six to 17.

The Spanish market, supported by its own scrappage scheme, saw volumes rise 2.1% in 2013, while the German market was down almost 5% and France and Italy reduced by more than 7%.

“With its best year since a pre-recession 2007, the UK new car market has helped stimulate the country’s economic recovery,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

“While the European market is only now showing signs of improvement, the UK has consistently outperformed the rest of Europe with 22 consecutive months of growth. The 10.8% increase in 2013 reflects the attractive financial offers available as well as increased demand for more technologically advanced new cars. We expect new car registrations to remain stable in 2014 as customers return to a more regular replacement cycle.”