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UK car population grows by almost 500,000 cars a year

In 2013, the UK's car population grew by almost half a million cars according to a new study, likely due to the introduction of electric and hybrid vehicles. The study was researched by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trading (SMMT) and showed that the total number of cars on the UK's roads rose by more than 436,000 to 31,917,885.


The UK car population research figures


The rise of 1.4% is the fastest growth in 10 years and shows the recovery of the economy is going strong. More UK residents are purchasing a vehicle thanks to the improvement of car reliability and the fact that on average a car now lasts longer than they did a few years ago. This is likely due in part to the manufacturers' new focus on safety and technology in their new models.


Cars over 12 years old rose by 11.3%, compared with 2012, with 2.06 million more cars recorded in the latest census. Compared to a decade ago, the average age of a car has increased by a full year to 7.7 years old.


Co2 emissions on UK roads have dropped considerably, by 7.3% in the past five years, to an average of 160g/km. The rise of innovative new engines and the introduction of hybrid and electric cars is accelerating the process, seeing the average CO2 emissions on new cars dropping to 128.3g/km.


The breakdown of the UK car population origin


According to the research carried out, most cars on the UK's roads are German, from brands such as BMW and Volkswagen. Following that, the next top car origin is the UK itself, with British brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley and Vauxhall. Behind them come Spain, France and Japan, as the top five. Collectively the manufacturers of these countries account for more than three quarters of all the vehicles on the UK roads.


The biggest increase in car population has been in Corby, Worchester and Aberdeenshire, where vehicle volumes increased by 20% on average. Meanwhile, Liverpool, Blackpool, Swansea and Brighton has shed 20,00 since 2004, with an average drop of 4.5%.


The most common vehicle out of the 1,453 plus different models available in the UK, is the Ford Focus with 1.5 million owners, around 30,000 ahead of the brand's Fiesta model.


Comments on the UK car population research


SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, commented on the results from the research, saying, “Major investment by manufacturers in advanced production techniques, supported by longer vehicle warranties, has seen car reliability enhanced still further. Additionally, spreading the cost of regular maintenance through service packages makes car ownership more affordable.”


The research also shows that motorists are less in favour of colour, opting for black and grey cars more than blue or red. Blue accounts for 20.3%, black for 18.4%, red for 10.9%, grey for 10.8% and the remaining 14.7% is taken up by the remaining colour variations. Most of the cars on the UK's roads are painted silver, accounting for almost 24.9% of the entire UK vehicle population.

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