The UK’s new car market achieved another record year in 2016, with annual registrations climbing for the fifth year in a row to almost 2.7 million, according to figures published by SMMT.
The market has experienced uplifts in 10 out of the last 12 months, albeit finishing with a December down slightly by -1.1% – with 178,022 new cars registered during the month.
Nissan’s Qashqai model proved the fifth most popular car during the period, with 62,682 new Qashqai’s sold throughout 2016.
The Sunderland built car was trumped only by the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf.
Speaking about the impact the Nissan Qashqai has had on the City of Sunderland and the region's automotive sector, Sunderland City Council leader cllr Paul Watson praised the impact the car has had since its inception in 2014.
He told BQ: “The outstanding success of the Nissan Qashqai is great news for the Sunderland plant and the city. It builds on the thriving supply chain now well-established across the city, and the superb workforce at Nissan Sunderland which helped it become the fastest car plant in UK automotive history to reach the two million mark with the Nissan Qashqai in 2014.
“Our car making and supply companies are going from strength to strength, and their success is helping to fuel the growth of the city, the region and the UK’s economy. Their robust performance is the best way to celebrate the start of a new year.”
Paul Butler, chief executive of the North East Automotive Alliance, added: “The North East is a global centre of excellence for automotive manufacturing. Nissan Sunderland produced more than 500,000 cars in 2016, over 60% of these being the Qashqai model. This volume from a single plant is outstanding and is testament to the excellence of the Nissan employees and its globally competitive supply chain."
Speaking on the record new car sales for the UK, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Despite 2016’s political and economic uncertainties, the UK’s new car market delivered another record performance as car makers offered an incredible range of innovative and high tech models.
“2017 may well be more challenging as sterling depreciation raises the price of imported goods but, with interest rates still at historic lows and a range of new models arriving in 2017, there are still many reasons for consumers to consider a new car in 2017.
“Looking longer term, the strength of this market will rest on our ability to maintain our current trading relations and, in particular, avoid tariff barriers which could add significantly to the cost of a new car.”