UK car sales hit near to 2.5m

<p>Car sales in the UK have hit a ten-year high.</p>

Almost 2.5 million new cars were registered in the UK over the past year, according to new figures.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced that in the past 12 months a total of 2.47 million new cars were registered in the British Isles. This represents a nine per cent increase on 2013 and the best performance for ten years. The Ford Fiesta continued to be popular with the UK market with 131,254 units sold over the course of the year.

Fleet and business registrations accounted for the bulk of the figures, taking up 52 per cent of the market. During 2014, 1,296,936 units were purchased by this sector, a 8.9 per cent increase on the 1.2 million registered during 2013. The performance last year has only ever been surpassed three times in 2002, 2003 and 2004 highlighting the popularity cars continue to have in the UK.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, 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 SMMT noted that these latest figures ensure that the UK maintains its position as second largest market in the European Union for automotives. While it still trails Germany, it remains ahead of nations such as France, Italy and Spain. This was boosted by December's 8.7 per cent rise, the 34th consecutive month of growth.

Figures from the SMMT come after UK-based luxury car manufacturer Rolls-Royce announced a surge in sales for the past year. The company announced earlier in the week that it had recorded a 12 per cent rise in sales throughout the last 12 months, selling 4,063 vehicles. It represented the fifth year in a row where it had hit record figures.

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