More cars than ever on British roads – because they have never been better

Ford-Focus-2013A combination of better quality cars and several years’ growth in new car registrations have resulted in a record UK car parc high of nearly 32 million cars.

SMMT figures reveal there are 31,917,885 cars on British roads – that’s around one car for every other person in the country. That figure grew by a hefty 436,000 in 2013 alone.

Indeed, last year’s car parc growth of 1.4% was the fastest rate in a decade.

It means the average age of a British car is now 7.7 years old, 12 months older than in 2003. There are more than 11% more cars in use aged older than 12 years – in short, more are being bought and fewer are being scrapped.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said better production techniques was only part of the reason why cars were lasting longer: “Spreading the cost of regular maintenance through service packages makes car ownership more affordable, so it is not surprising that people are running cars for longer.”

Reliability is also better than it’s ever been – something manufacturers are supporting with longer vehicle warranties.

Ford Focus is Britain’s most popular car

Of nearly 32 million cars on British roads, 1.46 million of them are Ford Focus, and 1.42 million are Ford Fiestas. There are 1.24 million Vauxhall Corsas, 1.18 million Vauxhall Astras and just under 1 million Volkswagen Golf in use (and one of the 998,645 vehicles is MR’s own Mk4 Golf GTI…).

There are an impressive 1.453 different models in use on British roads, but there’s far less diversity when it comes to colours: 1 in 4 British cars are silver, 20% are blue and 18% are black. Almost 11% are grey, just beaten by the only other colour in the top 5, red.

Remarkably ‘all other colours’ make up the remaining 14.7% of UK car colours.

The UK car parc statistics have been revealed in the SMMT’s Motorparc car census study. Claimed to be the UK’s biggest automotive census, it’s an annual undertaking that’s said to be one of the richest data sources in the industry.

With historical records of more than 200 million different vehicles, all broken down by region, town or postcode, we don’t doubt it…

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