Fleets drive August growth in car registrations

The UK new car market achieved modest growth in August, as registrations rose 3.3 per cent against the same month last year, according to figures released by SMMT. 81,640 new cars were registered in the month, with year-to-date performance remaining positive, up 2.8 per cent to 1.68 million units.

The fleet sector drove the growth with demand, buoyed by attractive finance deals and discounts, rising 7.7 per cent to 43,267, while private registrations fell slightly by -0.2 per cent. Diesel demand also fell marginally by -0.2 per cent, with petrol registrations edging ahead 5.3 per cent and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) seeing significant growth of 30.8 per cent. Almost 54,000 AFVs have been registered so far in 2016, compared with just over 44,000 last year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “August is traditionally one of the quietest months as consumers look ahead to the September plate change, so growth, albeit small, is good news. With showrooms full of exciting models featuring the very latest technology and a raft of affordable finance options, it still makes economic sense to consider buying a new car. The key to maintaining this strong market is consumer confidence for which we look to government to deliver the conditions for economic growth.”

Sue Robinson, director of National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, described the rise as “positive”, adding that August is usually a quiet month for new car sales.

Robinson continued, “Intelligence from our members demonstrates consumer demand remains steady as a result of record employment levels and record low interest rates. With good footfall through dealerships we look forward to the September plate change with confidence.”

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