- Demand for new 14-plate sees March reach 464,824 new car registrations, a rise of 17.7%.
- Since move to twice-yearly plate change in 1999, only March 2004 saw higher registrations (at 466,954).
- Year-to-date registrations up 13.7% to 688,122 units.
- March is typically biggest month in year accounting for almost a fifth of full-year registrations.
- Biggest-ever month for alternatively-fuelled vehicles as volumes reach 8,713 units, growth of 63.8% on 2013.
2014 UK new car registrations – first quarter (Q1) report
“New car registrations surged 17.7% in March to 464,824 units, a surprisingly strong level of growth and a reflection of intensifying consumer confidence and the availability of great new products,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “Given the past six years of subdued economic performance across the UK, there is still a substantial margin of pent-up demand that is contributing to a strong new and used car market.
“There has never been a better time to buy a new car thanks to attractive finance deals and advanced technologies that often make new cars cheaper to run. We expect the market to continue to perform positively for the rest of the year, albeit at a more modest rate.”
New car registrations (rolling-year annual total)
March new car registrations, 2004-2014
- The March new car market was just 2,130 units short of the record 2004 total.
- The average registration volume for March 2004-2008 was around 449,000 units; the recession saw this figure dip to 369,000 (2009-2013).
- The twice-yearly plate change means March and September alone typically account for over a third of the annual market.
Market snapshot: March 2014 vs 2004
- Segments: Market has shifted towards smaller cars (Mini and Supermini segments) and Dual Purpose and MPV segments.
- Fuel efficiency: Average mpg has improved 35%, from 42.4mpg to 57.2mpg, since March 2004.
- CO2 emissions: Average new car CO2 emissions are 26% lower than a decade ago. In March 2014, 67.2% of the market was below 130g/km, so paid no VED in the first year, compared with 6.5% in March 2004.
- Colours: White was the most popular car colour in March 2014, compared with silver in March 2004.
New car registrations by segment, March 2004 and 2014
New car registrations by VED bands, March 2004 and 2014
New car registrations by colour, March 2004 and 2014
Click through to download the full March 2014 new car registrations news release and data table.