2012 new car market tops two million units, a four-year high

  • UK new car registrations rose 5.3% in 2012 to 2,044,609 units, boosted by strong consumer demand.
  • Annual volume was highest since 2008, and recorded largest percentage increase since 2001.
  • Growth in 2012 followed 12.9% rise in private demand.
  • New car market was still 14.9% below 2007, pre-recession, level of 2.4 million units.
  • Average new car CO2 emissions fell to new low of 133.1g/km, 22.7% down on a decade ago.
  • Market ended 2012 with 3.7% rise in December to 123,557 units.

“More than two million new cars were registered in the UK during 2012, up 5.3% on the previous 12 months and the best result since recession struck in 2008,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “Boosted by strong consumer demand, the market grew at its fastest rate for 11 years with innovative, fuel-efficient cars keeping buyers in showrooms. Looking ahead to 2013, we anticipate the market will hold firm, with manufacturers and dealers working hard to deliver quality and value to motorists.”

Click through to download the full December 2012 (full year) new car registrations news release and data tables.

December 2012 (full year) new car registrations data

December Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
2012 123,557 63,347 58,562 1,648 50,980 66,960 5,617
2011 119,188 60,570 56,763 1,855 45,300 67,161 6,727
% change 3.7% 4.6% 3.2% -11.2% 12.5% -0.3% -16.5%
Mkt share ’12 51.3% 47.4% 1.3% 41.3% 54.2% 4.5%
Mkt share ’11 50.8% 47.6% 1.6% 38.0% 56.3% 5.6%
Year-to-date Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
2012 2,044,609 1,038,679 978,089 27,841 929,440 1,025,501 89,668
2011 1,941,253 981,594 934,203 25,456 823,094 1,019,126 99,033
% change 5.3% 5.8% 4.7% 9.4% 12.9% 0.6% -9.5%
Mkt share ’12 50.8% 47.8% 1.4% 45.5% 50.2% 4.4%
Mkt share ’11 50.6% 48.1% 1.3% 42.4% 52.5% 5.1%

December 2012 and full year best sellers

Best sellers December Year-to-date
1 Focus 5,265 1 Fiesta 109,265
2 Astra 5,112 2 Corsa 89,434
3 Fiesta 4,977 3 Focus 83,115
4 Corsa 4,510 4 Astra 63,023
5 1 Series 3,196 5 Golf 62,021
6 3 Series 3,181 6 Qashqai 45,675
7 MINI 3,143 7 3 Series 44,521
8 Qashqai 2,840 8 Polo 41,901
9 Golf 2,556 9 C-Class 37,261
10 Polo 2,500 10 1 Series 34,488

New car market grows more than 100,000 units in 2012 after private registration boost

  • Through the year, registrations rose in 11 months with December volumes up 3.7%.
  • On a quarterly basis, growth improved throughout the year with a 9.2% rise in the final quarter.
  • The 2012 UK new car market saw its highest annual outturn since 2008, at 2,044,609 units.
  • The 5.3% growth over the year was the best since 2001 and only the second rise since the recession.
  • Growth in 2012 stemmed from a 12.9%, or 106,346 units, rise in private registrations. Regular replacement cycles, offers and incentives and some buyers shifting from buying used to new cars could have contributed to the upturn.
  • Demand was strong for Mini (+54.2%), Supermini (+5.6%) and Dual Purpose (+21.1%) segment cars in 2012.
  • The 2012 outturn was 1.6% ahead of SMMT’s 2.013 million unit forecast, as set in October 2012 and 6.5% above the forecast set at the start of 2012.
  • UK-built cars saw volumes rise 11.1% in 2012, boosting their market share to 13.5%.
  • Despite growing, the 2012 new car market was still 14.9% or some 360,000 units below the 2007 market outturn.
  • Registrations of alternatively-fuelled cars rose 9.4% in 2012 achieving 1.4% market share, a new high.
  • Diesel cars took a record 50.8% market share, just up on 2011′s 50.6%.
  • The Ford Fiesta was the best selling model of 2012, retaining the position held since 2009.
  • The 2013 market is set to be challenging, SMMT anticipates performance on-par with 2012. SMMT’s first 2013 forecast will be issued in late January.

Click through to download the full December 2012 (full year) new car registrations news release and data tables.

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