New car registrations rise in Scotland

cars Image copyright PA

The number of new cars registered in Scotland last year edged up from the 2015 total, to 220,906.

This was the second highest annual total, after the record set in 2014, and was a rise of 352 on the previous year.

UK registrations hit a record of nearly 2.7 million registrations in 2016, up 2.3% on the year.

Vauxhall remained the biggest selling brand in Scotland, with 27,758 cars registered, ahead of Ford on 24,134.

Volkswagen held third position, with 16,053. That was a fall of 1,800 registrations compared with 2015, during which the German carmaker was engulfed in a crisis about misleading claims for its diesel engine's fuel efficiency.

The other most popular manufacturers included:

  • Renault - 13,600
  • Audi - 13,200
  • BMW - 10,600
  • Mercedes - 9,400
  • Peugeot - 8,700

At the more expensive end of the market, four McLarens were registered in 2016 - all of them last month - plus 18 Lamborghini, 26 Rolls-Royce, 49 Astan Martins, 34 Ferrari and 67 Maserati.

The Vauxhall Corsa was the most popular new car in Scotland, with 10,095 registered, followed by the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

Motor traders say the increase in new car registrations has been driven by low interest rates, and the wide choice of 48 makes and 400 models.

More difficult

The market may also have been distorted by "pre-registered cars", which dealers buy and hold, to sell at a discount after 90 days. A BBC investigation found they could account for a fifth of registrations.

With the figures came a warning that after a challenging 2016, the new year looks more difficult still.

Sandy Burgess, chief executive of the Scottish Motor Traders Association, said: "Despite the various challenges we experienced in 2016 with political and economic uncertainties, Scotland's new car market delivered another significant performance as our dealers were able to bring a fantastic range of innovative and high tech models to market.

"The new year is shaping up to be more challenging, with the impacts of recent sterling depreciation raising the price of imported goods, fuel prices starting to increase and further unease around the Brexit situation.

"But interest rates are still at historic lows and there are lots of new models arriving in showrooms throughout 2017."