Tag Archives: new car sales

UK new car market reports slower August as more buyers await new 67-plate

car manufacturing

  • New car registrations fall -6.4% in August to 76,433.
  • AFV demand surges 58.3% as more motorists switch on to alternative powertrains.
  • Year-to-date market holds steady, down -2.4%, with 1.64 million cars joining British roads in 2017.


The UK new car market reported its fifth consecutive month of decline in August, according to figures published today by SMMT. Registrations fell -6.4%, 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.1 Year to date, the market remained broadly in line with expectations, down -2.4%, 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%) of registrations. However, SUVs, larger family cars and executives were the only segments to grow, up 7.9%, 2.2% and 1.1% 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% share of the market.2 Demand for petrol hybrid and pure electric battery powered cars increased substantially, up 74.9% and 62.5%, while plug-in hybrid registrations rose 38.5%. Conventional petrols grew 3.8% and diesels fell -21.3%.

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.


  1. August 2016: 81,640; August 2015: 79,060; August 2007: 77,649
  2. The previous AFV record market share for August was 3.1% in 2016

Source: SMMT


Over 2 million registrations so far in 2016 as 66-plate drives new car market



  • 469,696 new cars registered in plate-change September – a steady rise of 1.6% and the highest September on record.
  • Increased demand for diesels and alternatively fuelled vehicles, up 2.8% and 32.6% respectively.
  • Year-to-date total registrations grow 2.6%, with more than 2 million units registered so far this year.

The UK new car market remained steady in September, rising 1.6%, according to data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. 469,696 cars were registered, as buyers purchased the new 66-plate.


The performance marks the highest September on record, while the total number of cars registered so far this year also grew to  2,150,495 units – up 2.6% compared with the same period last year. It is only the second time that the two million mark has been passed in September since 2004.1

Fleet registrations continued to drive growth, up 7.3%, while registrations to private motorists experienced a small decline, down -1.7% to 223,844 units in the month. Meanwhile, diesel registrations rose 2.8% as petrols declined
-1.1%. Alternatively fuelled vehicles continued to outpace the market, up 32.6% against the same month last year with a market share of 3.4%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

September is always one of the biggest months for Britain’s new car market. The new 66-plate, combined with a diverse range of exciting new models featuring the latest technology, has certainly helped draw buyers into showrooms and many are taking full advantage of the attractive deals and low interest financing options on offer. Business and consumers place September orders many months in advance, so the ability of the market to maintain this record level of demand will depend on the ability of government to overcome political uncertainty and safeguard the conditions that underpin consumer appetite.




  1.  September 2015 recorded 2,096,886 units registered, the first time the 2 million mark was passed in September since 2004.

Source: SMMT

Stable growth for UK new car market in April

  • New car registrations show steady increase of 2.0% in April to 189,505 units.
  • Growth in fleet and business segments offsets small decline in private demand.
  • Registrations of alternative fuel vehicles rise 26.8%, in line with the year so far.

Friday 6 May, 2016 New car registrations in the UK made a modest gain of 2.0% in April, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 189,505 cars were registered in the month – the most in April since 2003, when 194,312 new vehicles found homes.


As in March, the market growth in April was led by the fleet and business sectors, where respective increases of 6.1% and 2.8% counterbalanced a 2.5% fall in private registrations.

Meanwhile, demand for both petrol and diesel models remains high. Registrations of petrol cars increased 3.4% in April, while diesel saw a slight 0.6% decline. Following the trend set in the first three months of the year, uptake of alternative fuel vehicles jumped by more than a quarter as buyers looked to reduce emissions and running costs.

April’s performance puts registrations for 2016 to date 4.4% up on the same period last year. It follows a bumper March in which more than 518,000 cars were registered – the second-biggest month on record. Demand for cars has been running at a high level, after 43 consecutive months of growth in the market led to an all-time high of 2.63 million car registrations in 2015.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “After such a strong March, April’s steadier performance was to be anticipated, and is in line with our expectations for the year. Consumer confidence remains high as buyers continue to capitalise on attractive finance deals, although this could be affected by political and economic uncertainty in the coming months.”

Car Apr_best sellers

Download the April 2016 new car registrations news release and data table.

Source: SMMT

Record month for UK new car market as 16 plate-change increases demand


  • New car market grows 5.3% in March as more than half a million buyers take advantage of popular plate change.
  • Registrations increase 5.1% in 2016 Q1, to 771,780 units.
  • Alternative fuel vehicles see 21.5% jump in demand, with robust growth in diesel and petrol registrations.

Wednesday 6 April, 2016 The UK’s new car market grew by 5.3% in March, making it the biggest ever month since the bi-annual plate change began in 1999, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

518,707 new cars were registered in March, only the third time the market has surpassed half a million units in a single month. The month rounded off a record quarter, in which more than 770,000 new cars were registered – a 5.1% increase over the first quarter in 2015.

Demand for alternative fuel vehicles showed a notable increase of 21.5% in the month, as consumers continued to favour lower emission vehicles with lower running costs. Registrations of both diesel and petrol cars increased, meanwhile, with respective uplifts of 4.8% and 4.7%.

Growth was seen across all sales types in March: private and business registrations increased 3.8% and 15.3% respectively, while in the fleet sector demand grew 6.0%, reversing small declines seen in January and February as buyers sought to maximise residual values by opting for the new March number plate.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The sector’s strong growth in March rounds off a robust first quarter as British consumers continue to demonstrate their appetite for new cars, especially ultra-low emission vehicles. This consumer confidence should see registrations remain at a high but broadly stable level over the year but could be undermined by political or economic uncertainty.”

Mar_ME table2


Car Feb_best sellers

Download the March 2016 new car registrations news release and data table.

New car registrations grow steadily as ultra-low emission vehicles surge past 10k mark


Figures released this week by SMMT show a steady 2.4% growth in the UK new car market, accompanied by a strong surge in demand for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).

11,842 ULEVs were registered between January and May – a four-fold rise on the 2,838 registrations in the same period last year. The growth is further evidence of UK car buyers’ increasing awareness of the significant benefits of driving a ULEV, as they look to reduce their running costs and environmental impact. Motorists can now choose from a diverse range of around 20 ULEVs, compared to just six in 2011.

The rise in overall new car registrations, meanwhile, marks the 39th consecutive month of growth in the market. More than one million cars have been registered in 2015 as a range of new products and attractive finance deals with low interest rates continue to draw buyers to showrooms. With many purchases on a three-year replacement cycle, new cars bought as the recession ended are now being replaced. Read more here.

Heavier vehicles in every segment continue to drive buoyant van and truck market

Commercial vehicle registrations rose 17.4% in May to 31,922 units. Last month marked the fifth consecutive month of growth for the truck market, while van registrations hit the 150,000 milestone. The biggest gains in the month were again made by the heavier end of the van and rigid truck markets.

New bus and coach registrations also performed strongly in May, with demand increasing 21.1%. This was driven by growth in the purpose-built coach market, as operators continue to invest in new models ahead of the British summer getaway.

Source: SMMT

UK 2013 new car market records best performance in five years

  • 2,264,737 cars registered in 2013, up 10.8% on 2012 and exceeding SMMT’s 2.25 million forecast for the year.
  • 2013 hits highest annual registration total since 2007 as December achieves 22nd consecutive monthly rise.
  • On average, an additional 600 extra cars registered per day in 2013 than in the previous year.
  • UK firmly secured as Europe’s second largest car market and only one to grow consistently throughout 2013.
  • 2014 market expected to stabilise with sustainable growth of around 1% over the year.


“With its best year since a pre-recession 2007, the UK new car market has helped stimulate the country’s economic recovery,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “While the European market is only now showing signs of improvement, the UK has consistently outperformed the rest of Europe with 22 consecutive months of growth. The 10.8% increase in 2013 reflects the attractive financial offers available as well as increased demand for more technologically advanced new cars. We expect new car registrations to remain stable in 2014 as customers return to a more regular replacement cycle.”


UK and EU27 new car registrations

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Dec car tab 2

Dec car 2

  • Since 2008, the UK market has seen a shift away from the Upper Medium segment towards smaller cars in the Mini and Supermini segments, as well as the MPV and Dual Purpose segments.
  • Change in buying patterns has been driven by the demand for smaller, more fuel efficient models, as well as the greater versatility provided by Dual Purpose and MPV segments.
  • Dual Purpose sales overtook Upper Medium volumes in 2013 to become the third largest segment.
  • The Supermini segment remains the largest by volume, with a market share in 2013 of 35.9%.


Dec car 3


  • All sales types recorded growth in 2013, although it was the private sector that saw the largest volume gain.
  • Improving consumer and business confidence, after an extended hold-off period and a competitive market place helped sales to grow.
  • Increase in private registrations accounted for two-thirds of overall market growth. In 2013 private buyers accounted for 47.5% of the market, up from 45.5% in 2012.


Dec car 4


  • Registrations of hybrid and plug-in cars rose 17.5% in 2013 to 32,727 units.
  • In 2011, plug-in vehicles (pure electric, plug-in hybrids and range extenders) accounted for 4.7% of AFV sales; this increased to 12.3% in 2013.
  • Within the past two years the number of plug-in models on sale has increased from six to 17.


Dec car 5

  •  The UK has been a key market in an otherwise subdued European economic marketplace. In 2013, the UK consolidated its position as the second largest market in Europe (after Germany).
  • Data to November shows the UK market up 9.9%, or over 190,000 units. The EU27 market as whole was down 2.7% or over 300,000 units.
  • The Spanish market, supported by its own scrappage scheme, saw volumes rise 2.1% in 2013, while the German market was down almost 5% and France and Italy by over 7%.

Source: SMMT