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United Kingdom auto sales hit all time high in 2016 - 2.7 million cars

United Kingdom auto sales hit all time high in 2016 - 2.7 million cars

That is in addition to an earlier warning that motorists face paying £1,500 more for imported cars when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union if the divorce deal results in new tariffs.

"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 vehicle".

Nonetheless, sales are forecast to fall 5 percent in 2017. This eclipses the second-placed Vauxhall Corsa which finished the year on 77,110 registrations.

The relative strength of the pound versus the euro until previous year meant that cars produced overseas but sold in the United Kingdom were more profitable, giving manufacturers more room to offer deals.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) told Sky News that customers would see increases in the first quarter of the year.

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"The slowdown was expected towards the end of the year and we believe that the segments of the market that saw an increase in December and have consistently performed well throughout the year, such as alternative fuel vehicles, will continue to drive the growth in the upcoming months".

The private market remained near last year's record level, with a 0.2% decline to 1,206,250 units, although demand fell over the latter three-quarters, with December recording a 5.5% drop to 67,640 units. The competitive range of affordable finance, particularly attractive personal contract purchase (PCP) deals, is a crucial factor driving private demand as consumers are able to take advantage of low interest rates and flexible payment options. Plug-in hybrids and petrol-electric hybrids, in particular, experienced significant growth, with demand up 41.9 per cent and 25.1 per cent respectively.

As for the traditional battle between diesel and petrol, the latter made up the largest number of registrations, making up 49% of the market overall.

Motorists buying a new vehicle in 2017 could find themselves paying more than they expect.

Britain's government past year made a pledge to Nissan that the vehicle industry would retain access to the European market, resulting in the Japanese manufacturer stating that it would continue to invest in a major plant in Sunderland, northeast England. The current tax scheme is based on Carbon dioxide emissions with new rules slashing this exemption, which after April, will only apply to vehicles with no Carbon dioxide emission at all i.e. mainly electric cars.


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