The registration plate changes that come about on the first of the month each March and September are eagerly anticipated by many new car buyers. Plate change months can be a great time to buy a car and many of us consequently hold out changing until we can drive away a model with the very latest date tag.
In light of this, September is forecasted to be one of the busiest months of the year for dealerships. And we saw this as the perfect opportunity to take stock and look back at a pivotal year for one of the UK’s leading industries.
The figures discussed below are highlights taken from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The automotive industry is an important employer within the UK with over 856,000 people employed across the country. The future is also set to be bright because of the 78,480 young people who began apprenticeships in 2016/17.
In light of growing interest in alternatively fuelled vehicles and in reducing emissions generally, it is no surprise that £3.65 billion was spent on research and development in 2017. This compares to £2.75 billion in 2016.
Correspondingly, CO2 emissions were reduced by 33% compared to the year 2000. New cars released in 2017 on average had 12.6% lower CO2 levels than the models they replaced. With the final part of The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) legislation being introduced on 1 September 2018, this progression is only set to continue.
With 1.67 million cars built, 2017 represented the second biggest year for UK automotive manufacturing since the turn of the century. Exports remain central to the success of the industry: UK-built vehicles are exported to over 160 world markets and accounted for an impressive 12.8% of the UK’s total export goods and 80% of our total manufacturing output.
The UK is the thirteenth largest global manufacturer behind the likes of China, USA and India. It also places fourth among our European neighbours behind Germany, Spain and France.
Black returned as the nation’s favourite colour having been superseded by white for the previous four years. Looking back to 2007, the consumer preference has shifted away from the specialist sports car (-27.65%) and the multi-purpose vehicle (-22.11%) in favour of compact (+220%), dual purpose (+161.16%) and executive vehicles (+17.9%).
We are also pleased to share that the Mercedes-Benz C, E and S Classes boasted top market share in the Executive and Luxury vehicle segments.
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