New car registrations in the UK experienced a slight increase in July, growing by 0.1% year-on-year, the latest SMMT figures have revealed.

Despite private car registrations falling by 6.1% last month, the fleet sector grew by 5.0%, which helped boost the overall registrations figure. Year-to-date, the first seven months of this year are up by 2.8% compared with January-July of 2015 following a strong first quarter.

So far this year, 816,607 cars have been registered to the fleet sector, an increase of 4.7% on 2015’s figures.

Demand for alternatively-fuelled vehicles has grown to a 3.0% market share thanks to a 24.7% registration rise, equating to 5380 new plug-in hybrid and electric cars on the roads in July. After a 1.1% drop in registrations, diesel cars accounted for 48.6% of the UK’s car parc last month compared with a 48.4% share for petrol models.

“After a healthy start to 2016 and record registrations in 2015 the market is showing signs of cooling. The automotive market is a vital part of the British economy and it’s important government delivers the economic conditions which instil business and consumer confidence,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “With low interest rates, attractive finance options and exciting new models coming to the showrooms, the market still has lots to offer customers.”