New car sales have started 2015 in good shape, with registrations up 6.7% in January to 164,856 units – the strongest start to a year since 2007.
Top five fleet registrations were Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, VW Golf, and Nissan Qashqai.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “These figures mark an encouraging start to the year after a very strong 2014, with a strikingly robust company car market as businesses take advantage of the attractive finance offers currently available.
“January saw increased uptake of both petrol and diesel cars, while demand for alternatively-fuelled vehicles continued its surge with registrations rising by 60.8%. Registrations of plug-in vehicles were particularly strong as consumers responded to a greater choice of makes and models delivering lower running costs.
“Last year’s 9.3% rise in the overall market was fuelled by stronger than expected economic confidence and, for 2015, we expect to see some levelling off throughout the year: demand is back to pre-recession levels following record-breaking growth.”
John Pitchford, Head of Corporate banking for Barclays in Shropshire, said: “2015 has been quick out of the starting blocks, with many consumers treating themselves to a new car to mark the arrival of a new year.
“The surge in company car registrations is also very encouraging. While the months of consecutive growth continue, fuelled by finance deals and the abundance of new models, we might see a gear change in March, as the extremely high numbers we saw in 2014 will be a tough act to follow.”