New car sales bounce back in July - but fleet demand lags behind private buyers
05 August 2020
Author: Sean Keywood
New car registrations in the UK were up by 11.3% year-on-year in July, as pent-up demand saw the market bounce back after lockdown.
The recovery was chiefly driven by private buyers, registrations to whom were up by 20.4% during the month, while fleet registrations rose by 5.2%.
Business registrations, classed as to fleets with fewer than 25 vehicles, were down by 11.8%, though these make up less than 2% of the overall market.
Despite the good news from July, the figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) still show a 41.9% overall market drop for the year to date, including a 45% drop in fleet registrations.
The SMMT is now predicting a 30% market decline for the whole of 2020.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "July's figures are positive, with a boost from demand pent up from earlier in the year and some attractive offers meaning there are some very good deals to be had.
"We must be cautious, however, as showrooms have only just fully reopened nationwide and there is still much uncertainty about the future.
"By the end of September we should have a clearer picture of whether or not this is a long-term trend. Although this month's figures provide hope, the market remains fragile in the face of possible future spikes and localised lockdowns as well as, sadly, probable job losses across the economy.
"The next few weeks will be crucial in showing whether or not we are on the road to recovery."
July's figures continued the recent trend of strong performances for alternative fuels, with sales of plug-in hybrids up by 320.3% year-on-year, pure EVs up by 259.4%, mild-hybrid petrols up by 241%, mild-hybrid diesels up by 147.4%, and conventional hybrids up by 64.9%, giving electrified cars a 25.6% share of the overall market.
Diesel demand continued to plummet, down by 25.9% for just a 16.5% market share, while petrol held steady with 0.3% growth to account for 58% of the market.
In the individual model sales chart, the Vauxhall Corsa led the way for the second month in a row with 5,455 registrations, just ahead of the Ford Fiesta with 5,421, and the Ford Focus with 4,981.
The top five was completed by the Volkswagen Golf, with 3,936 registrations, and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class with 3,922.
Completing the top ten were the Nissan Qashqai (2,971 registrations), Volkswagen Polo (2,932), Mini Hatch (2,906), Volkswagen Tiguan (2,880), and the Ford Kuga (2,686).