A DECEMBER leap in new car sales meant Scottish dealerships enjoyed their best year on record in 2014, latest figures show.
New car registrations in Scotland totalled 13,230 units last month, up almost 27 per cent on the same month a year earlier, according to the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA).
Figures for the UK as a whole showed an 8.7 per cent lift in December, ensuring the best year since 2004. In Scotland, the 2004 total was exceeded by several thousand vehicles.
SMTA chief executive Douglas Robertson said the improving economic climate and a new range of more fuel-efficient cars were behind the continuing sales surge.
He said: “We think this is evidence Scottish consumers and businesses are now more confident about the future economy and it also reflects that consumers have become more aware of the low running costs of a new car.
“SMTA dealers will continue to offer a first-class service to the public and look forward to another good year with yet more new, fuel-efficient models coming to the market”.
The annual figure of 221,570 Scottish registrations exceeds the SMTA’s previous best in 2004 of 215,171 by close on 3 per cent, and was 8.3 per cent ahead of 2013.
In the UK as a whole, 2,476,435 new cars registered last year – the most in a calendar year since 2004. Only 2002, 2003 and 2004 saw more cars registered than in 2014, making it the fourth biggest-selling year of all time.
The market grew 9.3 per cent compared to 2013, ahead of a Europe-wide average of 5.7 per cent.
The UK remains the second largest market in the EU – behind Germany and ahead of France, Italy and Spain – and recorded the second-largest growth of the top five EU markets.
Every month in 2014 saw an increase, with December’s 8.7 per cent rise the 34th consecutive month of growth.
The fledgling plug-in car market saw volumes quadruple. However, numbers remain tiny relative to conventionally-powered cars, with sales up from 3,586 in 2013 to 14,498 in 2014.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “UK new car registrations returned to pre-recession levels in 2014, as pent-up demand from the recession years combined with confidence in the economy saw consumer demand for the latest models grow consistently and strongly. The year was particularly strong for alternatively-fuelled vehicles.
“With a variety of new plug-in models expected in 2015, this area of the market will continue to grow significantly. For the market as a whole, we expect a more stable 2015 as demand levels off.”
The Vauxhall Corsa was the most popular car in December in both Scotland and the UK as a whole.
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