Vehicle Ownership In The UK Surpasses 40 Million

According to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the number of vehicles for use on British roads has surpassed 40 million for the first time.

More than 35 million cars and 5 million commercial vehicles were in use in the UK in 2019, showing a 1.0% increase on the previous year.

  • The amount of light commercial vehicles has grown 2.7% from the previous year to 4,527,724 units, surging by 28% in the last decade.
  • Passenger cars increased 0.8% to 35,168,259.
  • HGV’s grew by 0.4% to 607,998.

A lot of these vehicles are helping to provide transport for essential workers, deliveries and emergency services.

The UK’s 40 million strong fleet now includes more than 3/4 of a million low, ultra-low and zero emission cars. Making up just 2.2% of the overall car parc, the amount of these cars grew by 26% last year with:

  • 532,603 hybrids
  • 144,335 plug-in hybrids
  • 92,913 battery electric vehicles


  • The number of diesel cars in use fell by -0.9%, down to 13,723,299.
  • Petrol cars grew by 1.2% to 20,657,838.
  • Average CO2 emissions continue to fall with a decrease of -19.2%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “As the UK continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, keeping food, medical supplies and the people serving on the front line moving has never been so important – and these figures show the essential role Britain’s vehicle fleet plays for society. They also provide evidence that industry’s ongoing investment into ever cleaner, safer and more reliable vehicle technology is paying off, even as demand for mobility grows. To ensure this trend continues, we must get the right support for businesses and their workers in place now so that when this crisis is over, the sector can help get the whole country and our economy back on the move.”

The Motorparc data shows that black is the most commonly seen car colour on UK roads. Silver (18%) and blue (17%) are 2nd and 3rd choice.

For more details, head over to SMMT.