Latest SMMT Motorparc data reveals that there were 29,007,820 cars on the road at the end of 2003.

That’s an increase of 1.84 per cent since the previous survey at the end of 2002 when figures showed a total of 28,483,961 cars.

The biggest increase has come from diesel models. By the end of 2002 there were 4,083,055 examples on the road, but this rose 12.7 per cent to 4,602,607 models in 2003. The trend mirrors the increase in sales of new diesel models, which have more than doubled in four years from 303,925 units in 1999 to 704,637 in 2003.

In addition to data for cars, SMMT Motorparc figures confirm that there were 3,471,256 trucks and other commercial vehicles on the road at the end of 2003. The figure compares to 3,390,370 units at the end of 2002, an increase of 2.4 per cent.

The number of buses and coaches with more than 17 seats has also increased from 96,591 to 97,815 units while motorcycle numbers have risen 4.4 per cent from 1,278,596 to 1,334,539.