More new cars were bought in the UK in 2016 than ever before, a manufacturers' group has revealed.But there is bad news for dealers as sales are expected to fall this year.
There were 2.69 million cars registered last year, a rise of two per cent on 2015, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Sales have been increasing steadily over the past five years, with drivers buying the vehicles they could not afford in the immediate aftermath of the 2007 financial crisis.
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"Very strong" consumer confidence, attractive new models and low-interest HP deals have also boosted trade.
However, the BBC reports the headline statistic of a two per cent increase was buoyed up by fleet sales and that private sales, which started strong, fell throughout the year. They were down 5.5 per cent in December, the ninth monthly decline in a row.
The SMMT also says the rising pattern of recent years is set to change and predicts sales will fall by between five and six per cent this year.
Although that is a steep drop, chief executive Mike Hawes says it will not be "a collapse in the market" and that car sales will still be at "an incredibly high level".
The biggest-selling new car in the UK last year was the Ford Fiesta, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa and the Ford Focus.
Unsurprisingly, petrol and diesel cars still dominate, with 47.7 per cent and 49 per cent of market share respectively.
But demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles, including hybrids, rose 22.2 per cent, while more than 10,000 fully electric new cars were sold in the UK, an increase of 3.3 per cent.
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