UK New Car Sales Set Records in 2015
Last year more new cars were registered in the UK than during any other 12-month period in history, according to figures from the SMMT.
Year on year there was a six per cent boost in sales, with a total of 2.63 million new vehicles hitting roads nationwide. And for the fourth year in a row, there was an increase in registrations, with a number of economic factors helping to drive the market forwards in 2015, according to BBC News.
Even December was a record-setting month, with 180,000 new cars being registered in spite of the fact that the cold weather at this time of year traditionally keeps people away from forecourts.
The last time that a new car sales record was set was back in 2003. But 2015 was easily able to eclipse the 2.58 million vehicles sold 13 years ago.
Of course, the credit crunch of 2008 left the world’s automakers in disarray, and it was not until 2014 that sales were back at levels seen prior to the crisis. Observers have also pointed out that the impact of the VW emissions scandal seems to have done little to dent sales last year, as evidenced by the new highs recorded by the SMMT.
A combination of improved economic confidence along with affordable finance packages and manufacturer incentives has helped to keep the UK’s new car market buoyant over the past year. And with four out of five cars now bought on finance, with almost two-thirds of buyers taking advantage of personal contract purchase (PCP) deals, this trend is set to continue.
In fact, the rise of PCP finance has created a cyclical market whereby people are prompted to snap up a new car every 36 months, mirroring the approach established by mobile phone contracts but with a lot more money on the table.
Industry insiders believe that in spite of signs that sales are hitting a plateau, new car registrations are likely to increase in 2016 and could hit 2.8 million if market conditions remain favourable.
When it comes to the cars that are attracting the biggest number of buyers, there were some unsurprising entrants in the table of best-sellers in 2015.
The top spot went to the Ford Fiesta once again, with over 133,000 units sold nationally. This puts it comfortably ahead of the second-place Vauxhall Corsa, which was chosen by 92,000 drivers in the UK last year.
Ford took third place with the Focus, a family hatchback that follows in the footsteps of the Fiesta by offering a driving experience which is fun and engaging while still having all of the convenient everyday features that also make it a practical choice for most people. And as with many manufacturers at the moment, Ford is making use of turbochargers to ensure that even its smaller petrol engines pack a bit of punch while keeping fuel consumption low.
Fourth place belongs to the VW Golf, which managed to shrug off VW’s bad publicity in the final quarter of the year to remain one of the UK’s most popular and enduring car marques. The premium reputation of the brand is seemingly intact for the time being, and the solid resale values keep drivers coming back for more.
At the other end of the top ten are some newer and more intriguing additions to the market, with tenth position being occupied by the Vauxhall Mokka compact SUV. Over 45,000 of these cars were sold last year, indicating the power of this particular segment and the extent to which it has captured the attention of buyers.
The new MINI also managed to make an appearance, selling 47,000 units in 2015 and reasserting the popularity of this brand while bringing in plenty of new features to keep long-time fans interested, as well as iconic looks that have yet to be bettered.