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

Top 10 best luxury small cars 2022
BMW 118 M Sport
Best cars
22 Jun 2022

Top 10 best luxury small cars 2022

Nissan Juke SUV review
Nissan Juke SUV
Nissan Juke
16 Jun 2022

Nissan Juke SUV review

Refreshed Nissan Qashqai gets extra equipment
2022 Nissan Qashqai front corner
Nissan Qashqai SUV
7 Jun 2022

Refreshed Nissan Qashqai gets extra equipment

Top 10 best new cars under £20,000
Renault Clio front corner
Best cars
3 Jun 2022

Top 10 best new cars under £20,000

Most Popular

Electric MG 4 to arrive in September
2023 MG 4 - UK front
MG
4 Jul 2022

Electric MG 4 to arrive in September

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Car technology
22 Jun 2022

Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Facelifted Volvo XC60 driving - front
Deals
1 Jul 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
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
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022