Car sales down…but the future looks encouraging

NEW PLATES: September expected to see high demand continue Photo credit: Wikimedia

THE UK new car market reported its fifth consecutive month of decline in August, according to figures published by Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Registrations fell by 6.4 per cent, after a record August in 2016.

However, with more than 76,000 new cars registered, the performance still represents the third biggest August in 10 years. Year to date, the market remained broadly in line with expectations, down 2.4 per cent, with 1,640,241 new cars joining British roads in the first eight months.

Superminis and small family cars remained the most popular types in August, accounting for more than half (58.3 per cent) of registrations. However, SUVs, larger family cars and executives were the only segments to grow, up 7.9 per cent, 2.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, more people chose to get behind the wheel of an alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) than ever before in the month, accounting for a 5.2 per cent share of the market. Demand for petrol hybrid and pure electric battery powered cars increased substantially, up 74.9 per cent and 62.5 per cent, while plug-in hybrid registrations rose 38.5 per cent. Conventional petrol cars grew 3.8 per cent and diesels fell by 21.3 per cent.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “August is typically a quiet month for the new car market as consumers and businesses delay purchases until the arrival of the new number plate in September. With the new 67-plate now available and a range of new models in showrooms, we anticipate the continuation of what are historically high levels of demand.”

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