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UK car sales at record high in 2016




The number of new cars sold in the UK hit an all-time high in 2016.
The car industry body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said demand for new cars from private and fleet buyers hit about 2.7 million, 2% higher than in 2015.
It is the second year in a row that UK car sales have hit a record.
However, the SMMT says this year is unlikely to prove another record breaker, with new registrations expected to fall by 5-6%.
The SMMT’s Mike Hawes said last year’s growth was due to “very strong” consumer confidence, low-interest finance packages and the launch of a number of new models.
He also said that five consecutive years of increased sales had been fuelled by pent-up demand that developed during the recession of the late 2000s.
However, Mr Hawes said the fall in the value of the pound resulting from the Brexit vote was beginning to push up prices, which had risen by 2-3%. More than 85% of new cars bought in the UK are imported.
Mr Hawes said the impact of Brexit on the car industry was, as yet, unclear.
He warned though that if the UK was unable to trade freely with the EU and tariffs were introduced, it would add about £1,500 to the price of each imported car.

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