Record numbers of new cars and light commercial vehicles hit Britain’s congested roads in 2016.
The UK’s new car market saw another record year, with annual registrations climbing for the fifth consecutive year to almost 2.7 million, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Despite ongoing controversy over the effect of diesels emissions on health, sales of diesel and petrol cars dominated the market in near equal measure, with 47.7% and 49.0% respectively.
While taking a much smaller market share, plug-in hybrids and petrol electric hybrids saw significant growth, up 41.9% and 25.1% respectively. More than 10,000 motorists went fully electric during the year – up 3.3% on 2015.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘Despite 2016’s political and economic uncertainties, the UK’s new car market delivered another record performance. 2017 may well be more challenging as sterling depreciation raises the price of imported goods.
‘Looking longer term, the strength of this market will rest on our ability to maintain our current trading relations and, in particular, avoid tariff barriers which could add significantly to the cost of a new car.’
The SMMT reported that new light commercial vehicle registrations rose 1.0% to 375,687 units in 2016 – marking four years of consecutive growth. It said this growth was driven by an increase of in sales of pick-ups, with 47,715 leaving showrooms in the past year.