By Jonathan Davies

There were nearly 1.4 million new cars sold in the UK during the first six months of 2015, the highest figure on record, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT said 1,376,889 new cars were sold during the first-half, up strongly at 7% from the same period last year.

Buyers’ appetite for British-built cars is on the increase, meanwhile, with 13.9% (around one in six) choosing a UK-manufactured vehicle so far this year — the highest level in five years.

Low interest rates and attractive finance deals, combined with a wealth of new models featuring the latest technologies, have continued to encourage consumers to purchase new cars.

June marked the 40th consecutive month of growth in the market with a 12.9% increase in the month to 257,817 units. A significant feature of recent months has been a strong surge in demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles, and this was once again the case in June with volumes rising 70.9%. Fleet registrations continue to drive the growth, although registrations to private customers remain strong.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “It is still a great time to buy a new car in the UK, and it is encouraging to see more consumers choosing British models. This is important for the wider economy with 799,000 people now employed across the UK automotive sector, including retail. We anticipate a flatter second half of the year as the market finds its natural running rate.”