Expert Blog

The UK’s world-beating car sales

20160920_The UK's world-beating car sales

Here on this blog, we occasionally compare the latest car registration statistics with those from months gone by. But what about a different sort of comparison: between the UK’s numbers and those of other countries?

This comparison is provided by the graph below. It uses annual data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, showing the growth in passenger car sales in different parts of the world. We’ve chosen to contrast the UK with the European Union, with the G7 group of major economies, and with the OECD itself, which is made up of the 35 countries listed here.

You’ll notice that the UK, as depicted by the red line, has been performing admirably – very admirably, in fact. Back in the dreary days of the financial crisis and recession, from 2008 to 2011, car sales were struggling to grow anywhere. But the UK has since recorded four consecutive years of growth. In two of those years, it was at the very top of the pile, outdoing the average growth among EU, G7 and OECD countries.

In 2015, the growth rate among EU countries as a whole – of 9.3 per cent – overtook that of the UK. But this isn’t anything to be ashamed of. The UK still managed to achieve second position, having sold 6.7 per cent more passenger cars that year than in the year before.

Besides, we’re comparing the UK with great conglomerations of countries here. We measure up even better, in many cases, against other individual countries – including some with particularly large economies. Germany’s growth rate for 2015 was 5.6 per cent. The United States actually shrank by 2.4 per cent. We’re competitive in other arenas than just the Olympics Games.

And the best news? Judging by the UK’s own registration statistics that we look at each quarter, car sales are still going strong. In which case, we look forward to the OECD’s figures for 2016, which will be published at the beginning of next year. May the world-beating continue.

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