Experts predict annual record of car sales after fleet demand drives another month of growth

Oliver Gill
Follow Oliver
The Fiesta is a firm favourite with British new car buyers (Source: Getty)

Britain's businesses fuelled record new car sales for the first 11 months of the year, offsetting another month of falling demand from private car buyers.

Sales increased by 2.9 per cent during November compared with 2015 according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

With 184,101 vehicles registered during the month, a total of 2,514,764 is a record for January to November.

Read more: Guess what's the “highest since records began”? And its not the weather...

It was fleet sales that were driving the growth with a 5.1 per cent year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, private sales flopped 1.2 per cent in November, the eighth successive month of contracting demand.

The news boded well for a record full year of new car sales according to Ian Gilmartin, the head of retail and wholesale at Barclays.

Read more: Motorpoint is the first car dealer to reveal Brexit woes

“Further growth in the new car market in November, and it looks like we’re set for a record year when the December data arrives. Once again, strong fleet sales drove the positive result, with an impressive increase in alternatively fuelled vehicles a welcome bonus," he said.

What are we buying?

Brits still love the Fiesta... (Source: SMMT)

Last week, one of Britain's largest car dealers blamed the Brexit vote for a "disappointing" first six months of trading.

Motorpoint was forced into reducing stock levels in anticipation of lower customer demand, a move that impacted the bottom line of the company.

And Gilmartin said stemming the tide of decreasing demand will be front and centre for all players in the industry.

The private purchase figures have experienced a slight dip in recent months, so ensuring that this pattern doesn’t accelerate into a more sustained fall is sure to be top of the agenda across the industry as sellers begin to look forward to 2017.

Related articles