New car registrations continued the positive start to 2016 in February, growing 8.4% compared with the same month in 2015, according to new figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The total of 83,395 new cars registered in the month was the biggest in February since 2004.
Demand was up across all fuel types, with diesel and petrol registrations growing by 5.6% and 10.7% respectively, while alternatively-fuelled vehicles increased by 19.9%. Fleet demand dipped slightly compared with the private sector, but still retained its 53.1% majority share of new vehicles.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “February is typically one of the quietest months of the year, ahead of March’s plate change, but this positive performance is encouraging and puts the sector in a good position for the coming 12 months.”
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, said: “It is extremely positive to see the new car market has now achieved 47 consecutive months of growth.”
She added: “Consumers appear to be less reluctant to commit to new vehicles as employment prospects improve and interest rates and fuel prices remain low.
“Increased sales are supported by strong manufacturer deals and low cost finance offers that are encouraging consumers to buy.
“We anticipate the market to continue to grow, and have strong expectations ahead of next month’s 16-plate change where customers will be likely to take advantage of a range of substantial discounts and savings, in addition to a variety of low rate finance packages being made available.”