• New car market rises 23.1% in second smallest month of the year, with 94,094 units registered.
• Electrificaction demand grows with 1 in 12 buyers opting for electric, hybrid and plug-in cars as Alternative Fuel Vehicles surge 88.7%
• Overall market down -4.2% keeping year-to-date registrations on track to meet 2018 forecasts, says SMMT
THE August new car market might be one of the smallest, but latest Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) registration stats show significant gains.
Not only did year-on-year demand rise 23.1% with over 94,000 units registered, but demand for Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) rose to record levels.
SMMT says that 1 in 12 buyers went for a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric car in August.
Demand was up by a massive 88.7%, with the sector accounting for 8.0% of the market – its highest ever level.
But it wasn’t just AFVs. Demand was up across each sector. Private registrations rose 23.3% year on year; fleets 19.7%; and the smaller business sector by 166.4%, equivalent to an uplift of around 1,500 units against August last year.
In terms of model ranges, superminis remained the most popular, followed by small family and dual purpose cars, with the luxury saloon and city car segments recording eye-catching growth of 120.8% and 39.6% respectively.
The overall market remains down by -4.2% year to date. However, SMMT says this is in line with expectations.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented:
“It’s great to see such strong growth, particularly in the important electric vehicle market. However, given August is always a small month in new car registrations ahead of the important plate-change month of September, it would be wrong to view the market as booming.
” Indeed, this past month has seen some significant variances as regulatory changes have disrupted some supplies.
“In the long term, however, the new emissions certification test will give consumers renewed confidence in the performance of all vehicles, helping them choose the latest, cleanest technology that best suits their driving needs, whether that be petrol, diesel, hybrid or plug-in.”
Ashley Barnett, Head of Consultancy at Lex Autolease, added:
“It is positive to see record demand for alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs), but to meet the ambitious targets set out in the government’s Road to Zero strategy, we need to build on this momentum. An additional 100,000 new AFVs will be needed each year between now and 2030, in order for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles to comprise 50% of new car sales.
“The UK leasing industry will play a significant role in helping to meet government targets, and is key to transitioning the 31m cars on UK roads to newer, cleaner technology – not just in the company car market, but for individual drivers too.
“Looking ahead to September, we are confident that the market will pick up in line with demand for the new 68 plates. Although Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) data will be more widely available, we do not expect this to have an impact until after the Autumn Budget, which we hope will bring much-needed clarity around vehicle taxation.”