DfT publish some useful statistics on trends in the number of new and existing licensed cars (and other vehicles) at national and regional level. We’ve done some charts below comparing trends in London with other regions.
The first chart (from table VEH0204) shows the proportional growth in the number of licensed cars by region, standardised to a common value of 100 in the year 2000. What it shows is that the number of licensed cars grew by about 6% in London between 2000 and 2010, compared to between 12% and 20% in the other regions. Perhaps the most noticeable recent trend is the sharp drop in the number of licensed cars in the North West in the last two years, although this is still relatively small, only around 3% of the total in 2008.
The second chart (from VEH0254) shows the number of cars registered for the first time by region in 2005 and 2010. There were 127,400 cars registered for the first time in London in 2010, down from 192,200 in 2005. There were falls in every other region except the South East.
Finally, the chart below shows the trend in registered cars per capita by region, which we calculated by dividing the figures in table VEH0204 by regional population estimates downloaded from Nomis. There is one car for every three people in London, compared to one for every two in the South East, South West, West Midlands and East England.