Low-carbon vehicles secured a record share of the United Kingdom new auto market last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has claimed.
The overall growth in registrations came even as recent surveys indicated a decline in consumer confidence after the Brexit vote.It was private registrations that provided the strongest growth figure of 5%, accounting for 76,729 cars.The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said 174,564 new cars were registered last month, up 2.9% on the previous year.Petrol cars were also up strongly, gaining 8.9%, with diesel vehicle registrations down 4.3%, continuing the fall seen in December, amid suggestions of higher taxes to curb emissions.The rise of electric, or “alternatively-fuelled”, vehicles also continued to surge forward, with the market growing by nearly 20 per cent to take a record 4.2 per cent market share.Looking at the wider picture, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the year had got off to a good start, helped along by a new range of models with high levels of safety and efficiency.
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He added: “It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this positive growth, reaching a record market share”.Mr Hawes at the time said that the SMMT wants “trade deals but they must be the right deals, not rushed deals”.According to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ data, the figure represents a 2.9% overall rise on the same month past year, while the fleet market grew by 1.4%, to 91,181 units.”Growth at the rate we have seen can’t continue forever”.The Ford Fiesta remains the UK’s most popular auto, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.The weaker pound has forced manufacturers to raise prices, given 85% of the cars sold in the United Kingdom are imported.The UK auto industry now accounts for more than £71.6bn in turnover, according to the SMMT, and around 814,000 people are employed across the industry.