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New car registrations down in June, says SMMT

Date: 05 July 2018   |   Author: Rachel Boagey

The UK new car market declined moderately in June, with year-on-year demand falling by -3.5%, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

According to the figures, 234,945 new cars joined British roads last month as the market continues to stabilise following turbulence over the past year. 

Demand from larger fleets fell -6.4%, but business buyers with fewer than 25 vehicles on their books returned to showrooms, registering an 11.3% uplift in demand. Private demand was largely flat, at -0.6%. 

Smaller cars remained most popular, with supermini and lower medium vehicles taking a combined 57.4% market share. However, Dual Purpose was the fastest-growing segment, with demand up by 16.4% - 6,710 vehicles more than in the same month last year. 

Dual purpose, executive (+4.3%) and luxury saloon (+1.3%) were the only segments to register growth in June.   

There was good news for the alternatively fuelled vehicle sector, with a 45.0% increase in plug-in and hybrid registrations.. Petrol cars also attracted more buyers, with demand up 12.3%. However, this growth was not enough to offset continuing decline in diesel registrations, with a -28.2% fall, a result of continuing consumer uncertainty over future policy towards this technology. 

June capped off a turbulent first half of the year, distorted by the previous year's VED hikes, with the market experiencing a severe double-digit decline in March followed by a stronger April and May, when year-on-year demand grew. Year-to-date, overall demand remains down by -6.3% to 1,313,994 units. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, "Despite a rocky first six months for the new car market, it's great to see demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles continue to rise. 

"Given these cars still represent only one in 20 registrations, however, they cannot yet have the impact in driving down overall emissions that conventional vehicles, including diesels, continue to deliver.

"Recent government statements acknowledging the importance of petrol and diesel are encouraging. However, we now need a strategy that supports industry investment into next-generation technologies and puts motorists back in the driving seat, encouraged to buy the car that best suits their needs - whatever its fuel type."

Commenting on the news, Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: "The new car market moderately declined by 3.5% in June, influenced by a further reduction in diesel vehicles sold. The market appears to be recovering after a challenging year so far, with Q2 sales up 2.3%, and we look forward to a more positive second half of the year."