January 2017 new auto registrations up 2.9% YOY

Cars at the Nissan plant in Sunderland

New auto sales reached a 12-year high in January, according to an industry trade association.

In terms of market spread, private purchases were up by 5% and represented 44% of all sales.

According to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, 174,564 new cars were registered in the month - 2.9 per cent up on January 2016 and highest total recorded since 2005.

Alternatively-fuelled vehicle sales grew by one-fifth to surpass 4% of the market share for the first time in January, according to the industry group, which revealed the overall United Kingdom market reached a 12-year high.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, says: "Vans are the backbone of British business, so it is positive to see the strength of the market continue into 2017". The SMMT has calculated that Britain leaving the European Union without a negotiated trade deal and instead operating under current WTO tariffs would add £1,500 to the price of an imported auto bought in the UK. At the same time registrations of diesel cars fell by 4.3%, while registrations of petrol cars grew 8.9%. "It's encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this positive growth, reaching a record market share", he added.

NEW vehicle sales in Northern Ireland fell by almost one per cent in January compared to the same month a year ago, according to industry figures.

"The decision of the Bank of England to raise the growth forecast for this year from 1.4% to 2.0% is a positive sign as, in line with January's new vehicle market figures, shows that the United Kingdom economy has remained stable in the aftermath of Brexit".

Many sources, such as the BBC, contend that this better-than-expected growth is because of increased consumer spending during the last quarter of the year.