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New car market sees fall in fleet sales, increased EV demand

Date: 05 September 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

New UK fleet car registrations were down by 3.4% year-on-year in August, an underperformance compared with the rest of the market, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The overall new car market fell by 1.6% during the month, with private registrations down by 1.7%, and business registrations - classed as to fleets with fewer than 25 vehicles - up by 38.6%, though these represent less than 4% of all registrations.

It was a good month for registrations of pure electric vehicles (EVs), which saw a massive 377.5% increase to take a record 3.4% share of the overall market.

Hybrid sales were also up, by 36.2%, though the swing away from plug-in hybrids continued, with these down by 71.8%.

Diesel car registrations were down for the 29th month, though the 12.2% reported decline is actually an improvement on recent trends, while petrol car sales rose by 1%.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "August is typically the new car market's quietest month so the huge increase in EV registrations is very visible but especially welcome. It's great to see consumers respond to the massive industry investment made over many years.

"While this is encouraging, these figures also show the scale of the challenge ahead. It's a long road to zero and while manufacturers can deliver the technology, they can't dictate the pace of uptake.

"To support a smooth transition and deliver environmental gains now, we need a long-term government commitment to measures that give consumers confidence to invest in the latest technologies that best suit their needs."