The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which supports and promotes the interests of the UK automotive industry, announced on Friday that 1,287,265 new cars were registered in first six months of 2014, an increase of 10.6%, according to the latest UK vehicle registration figures.
During June this year, new car registrations rose by 6.2% to 228,291 units.
Improving economic conditions are said to have helped boost the UK new car market to the best first half-year performance since 2005. The market for this year is forecast to rise by more than 6%, compared to 2013, with 2.4 million new car registrations expected over 2014.
In the year to date, alternatively-fuelled vehicle registrations have grown by 51.3% to 23,337, reportedly as a result of consumer demand for lower running costs and increased efficiency. The average new car registered so far in 2014 returns 57.4mpg on the combined cycle, compared with 54.5mpg in 2012. CO2 emissions for the average UK new car are down by 6.5% since 2012. Registrations of pure-electric cars have increased by 143.9%.
Growth in the market for commercial vehicle registrations increased by 25.5% to 33,941 in June, with the rolling 12 months, up by 16.4% to 344,762. Van registrations also rose, with registrations up 33.3% in June, resulting in an increase of year-to-date volumes of 16.8% to 155,532 and a rise in the rolling year of 16.0% to 293,428.
There is a continued decline in truck registrations, which were down 19.2% in June to 3,229 units. However, over a rolling year, strong registrations at the end of 2013 helped to sustain an increase in volumes of 18.8% at 51,334.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented: “The van market has shown another strong performance in June, yielding higher-than-expected growth for the year so far.”
“This has helped the total commercial vehicle market achieve half-year growth of more than 11%, despite a somewhat depressed truck sector. Trucks continued to decline in the first six months of the year in the wake of an extremely strong end to 2013, ahead of the introduction of Euro-6.”
SMMT added that the UK automotive sector has an annual turnover of over GBP60bn and is a significant contributor to the country’s economy. Approximately 1.6 million cars and commercial vehicles, along with 2.5 million engines, are produced annually in Britain, which accounts for around 10% of the UK’s total export of goods.