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New car sales hit 10-year high


New cars waiting at the docks in Avonmouth port near Bristol.

New cars waiting at the docks in Avonmouth port near Bristol.

New cars waiting at the docks in Avonmouth port near Bristol.

New car sales in 2014 reached more than 2.47 million - the highest annual figure since 2004 and the fourth-highest ever.

Last year's total new registrations, at 2,476,435, were 9.3% up on the 2013 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

The 2014 total takes sales back to their pre-recession levels, with only the years 2002, 2003 and 2004 seeing more registrations than last year.

Sales have now risen for a record 34 consecutive months.

The SMMT reported that last year had seen a surge in demand for ultra-low emission vehicles, with registrations of plug-in cars increasing from 3,586 in 2013 to 14,498 in 2014.

The SMMT added that the UK remained the second largest new-car market in the EU - behind Germany and ahead of France, Italy and Spain.

In the final month of 2014 UK sales reached 166,198 - an 8.7% rise on the December 2013 total.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "UK new car registrations returned to pre-recession levels in 2014 as pent-up demand from the recession years combined with confidence in the economy saw consumer demand for the latest models grow consistently and strongly.

"The year was particularly strong for alternatively-fuelled vehicles as increased choice, coupled with a growing desire for reduced costs and greater efficiency, resulted in a quadrupling of plug-in car registrations over 2013."

He went on: " With a variety of new plug-in models expected in 2015, this area of the market will continue to grow significantly. For the market as a whole, we expect a more stable 2015 as demand levels off."

These are the annual new car registration figures for recent years:


2002 2,563,631

2003 2,579,269

2004 2,567,269

2005 2,439,717

2006 2,344,864

2007 2,404,007

2008 2,131,795

2009 1,994,999

2010 2,030,846

2011 1,941,253

2012 2,044,609

2013 2,264,737

2014 2,476,435

These were the best-selling models in the UK in 2014:

1. Ford Fiesta

2. Ford Focus

3. Vauxhall Corsa

4. Volkswagen Golf

5. Vauxhall Astra

6. Nissan Qashqai

7. Volkswagen Polo

8. Audi A3

9. Fiat 500

10. Nissan Juke

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