UK new-car sales in 2014 hit 10-year high

UK new-car sales rose 9 percent last year to hit their highest level in 10 years at 2.47 million units, cementing the UK’s place as Europe’s second-largest car market, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said today.

The SMMT said sales had been bolstered by strong economic confidence, but that it expected growth in 2015 to level off, as sales were now above historic average rates.

The group’s CEO, Mike Hawes, told reporters on Tuesday that he expected UK sales growth of 2-3 percent in 2015, and that manufacturers’ forecasts were in the 1-2 percent region.

Sales across the EU as a whole rose by around 6 percent in 2014, the SMMT said.

Mixed results in Europe’s top markets

All of Europe’s top markets reported an increase in sales last year, but the results were mixed. Registrations in Germany, the region’s biggest market, rose 3 percent, while third-placed France reported a rise of just 0.3 percent.