21st century high for sales of cars in the UK

Posted on 8 Apr 2015 by The Manufacturer

During March, more new cars were sold than any other month so far in the 21st century.

491,285 cars were sold in March, an increase of 5.87% compared to the same month last year. The highest figure in a single month since 1998 according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

There are several reasons for the bumper month, one reason is that the new registration plates come in to circulation and typically encourages more sales. Low interest rates also made it more attractive to consumers as well as new offerings such as low emissions engine models.

The Ford Fiesta lead the way in sales, having sold 26,564 units. So far in 2015 new car sales are at 731,979, meaning that more than 67% of new car sales for the year happened during March.

The motor industry has grown year-on-year for the past three years, and last month was the 37th consecutive month of growth in the new car market. The UK surpassed the level of car sales seen before the recession seven months ago and shows no sign of slowing down with consumer confidence high, and new technologies driving new car sales.

The automotive industry in the UK builds over 1.5 million vehicles a year and employs over 730,000 people. Since 2011 the industry has seen more than £14 billion worth of investment and has created an extra 30,000 jobs in the UK.

The UK car industry export revenues for 2014 were £26.2 billion and if production continues on the current trend then car production will be at pre-recession levels, for the first time since the crisis in 2008, later this year.

Jaguar Land Rover Evoque manufacture
Metal chassis being assembled at Land Rover plant in Merseyside.

This news comes amid announcements from numerous car manufacturers. Jaguar Land Rover are investing £600 million in UK production, The London Taxi Company is investing £250 million in production and creating a reported 1,000 new jobs to name a couple of the investments being made in the UK automotive industry.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented: “The best month this century for new car registrations is a welcome boost for the UK’s thriving automotive sector.

“The challenge for a new government and industry will be to maintain this momentum and to strengthen Britain’s manufacturing capabilities through continued investment, innovation and policies which maintain our global competitiveness.

“Whatever the General Election result, the new government must keep up the commitment to the sector which is delivering at home and abroad.”