LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - The number of cars on Britain’s roads rose to a record 32 million in 2013 with an increasing number of older vehicles being kept in use by cash-strapped drivers, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on Wednesday.
New figures showed that the number of cars in use rose 1.4 percent last year, the largest rise in a decade, to 31.9 million - about one car for every second person in the population - due largely to drivers sticking with older models.
Britons were using nearly 2.1 million more vehicles which were over 12 years old than in 2012, the survey showed, an increase of 11.3 percent. The average age of a car went up to 7.7 years.
“With more cars bought and less scrapped in recent years, the total number on UK roads reached an all-time high last year,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes in a statement.
“Major investment by manufacturers in advanced production techniques, supported by longer vehicle warranties, has seen car reliability enhanced still further.”
As well as getting older, Britain’s cars are getting greyer, the survey found.
The percentage of grey and black cars on the road rose by 5.6 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, while blue and red vehicles declined. Silver was the most popular colour, accounting for nearly a quarter of all cars in use.
The survey also showed cars made by Ford and Vauxhall were the most popular on Britain’s roads, with 1.46 Ford Focus and 1.42 million Ford Fiesta models in use and 1.25 million Vauxhall Corsas.
The British car market has begun to recover since the 2008 financial crisis which prompted the government to launch a vehicle scrappage scheme to support the industry.
Many manufacturers have been relying on finance packages, discounting and even offers such as free holidays to lure in hard-pressed British consumers.