New car sales biggest for a decade

UK car registrations at highest since 2004, according to official industry figures

Last year was the best year for new car registrations in ten years, according to official figures. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said that more than 2.47m new cars were registered during 2014.

The Ford Fiesta was once again Britain’s best-selling car, with more than 131,000 models registered. It was followed by the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Golf.

The Vauxhall Astra, Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Polo, Audi A3, Fiat 500 and Nissan Juke rounded out the top ten.

A wide range of attractive finance deals are among the reasons for the growth in sales. Around 75% of buyers use some sort of finance package. The most popular type is a Personal Contract Plan (PCP).

The figures showed that superminis, such as the Fiesta and Corsa, and crossovers, like the Qashqai and Juke, continue to grow in popularity. There has been a shift to more upmarket brands like Audi, and sales of low emission models continue to grow, though the 14,500 registrations are still a small fraction of the market.

The SMMT’s chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “The year was incredibly strong – stronger than we expected,” but he was still “cautiously optimistic” about continued growth this year.

He said registrations are likely to slow to around 1%-2% in 2015, but the market could still achieve 2.5m sales.

The report showed that Britain produced 1.5m cars in 2014 – around the same number as 2013, which Hawes said was “slightly disappointing”. Around 80% of UK-built cars are exported and a disappointing economic performance in European markets has hampered growth.

However, 2015 should be a strong year for British manufacturing, with MINI and Nissan Qashqai sales being bolstered by the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the launch of the Jaguar XE.

UK car manufacturing is expected to reach an all-time high in 2017.

Find out more about Britain's favourite cars in Carbuyer's best-selling cars top 10.

Recommended

The UK's top 10 best-selling cars 2024
The UK's best-selling cars hero
Best cars
7 Feb 2024

The UK's top 10 best-selling cars 2024

Top 10 best used SUVs 2024
Top 10 best used SUVs
Best cars
5 Feb 2024

Top 10 best used SUVs 2024

Vauxhall Corsa review - the best Corsa yet
Vauxhall Corsa facelift
In-depth reviews
25 Jan 2024

Vauxhall Corsa review - the best Corsa yet

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?
Ford Puma SUV front tracking
Tips and advice
12 Jan 2024

Ford EcoBoost engines: what are they and should you buy one?

Most Popular

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month
octavia vrs hot deal
Deals
19 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong
KGM Torres front quarter
News
19 Feb 2024

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month
cupra ateca
Deals
16 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
19 Dec 2023

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
12 Apr 2023

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
The best electric cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024