SMMT June registrations
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SMMT June registration key points

  • UK new car market down 4.8% in June
  • 243,454 units registered as market adjusts to expected levels.
  • Year-to-date down 1.3% to 1,401,811 units – second biggest first half-year on record.
  • Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) hold all-time high market share of 4.4% for second month
  • More than 10,700 new AFVs – up 29.0%.

THE UK new car market has declined for a third consecutive month but contributed to the second highest first half year on record, according to SMMT June registrations figures released today.

Registrations fell at a slower pace than in the previous two months, by 4.8% to 243,454 new units, as demand continued to stabilise following a record first quarter and the subsequent market turbulence caused by the April changes to Vehicle Excise Duty. The market is now more in line with 2017 forecasts.

Demand in the month was down across private, business and fleet registrations, recording falls of 7.8%, 8.3%  and 2.4% respectively, the private sector drop having the most impact on the overall figures.

Meanwhile, the AFV sector enjoyed notable growth, with demand rising 29.0% to 10,721 units to maintain a record 4.4% market share for a second month. Petrol registrations rose by 2.5% and diesel fell again, down 14.7%.

SMMT June registration

Compact cars, typically powered by smaller petrol engines, proved most popular for all buyers, with superminis and small family cars accounting for almost 60% of the market. Small family cars and SUVs were the only two segments to register growth in June, up 6.0% and 11.3% respectively.

Year-to-date, overall performance remains strong, falling slightly by 1.3% to 1,401,811 units and putting the market on track to meet 2017 forecasts.

Fleet and business buyers drove demand across the first six months with registrations up 1.5% and 2.7% respectively in contrast to a 4.8% drop in private purchases, although almost 650,000 consumers have chosen a new car this year.

SMMT June registration

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “As forecast, demand for new cars has started to cool following five consecutive years of solid growth but the numbers are still strong and the first half of the year is the second biggest on record.

“Provided consumer and business confidence holds, we expect demand to remain at a similarly high level over the coming months.

“It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles experiencing rapid growth but adoption is still at a relatively low level and more long term incentives are required if this new generation of vehicles is to be a more common sight on British roads.”

Fiesta knocked off top spot by Golf

For once the Fiesta, now being superceded by the new generation, was knocked off the top of the best-sellers chart for the month, overtaken by the recently refreshed VW Golf with the Focus third and Vauxhalls Astra and Corsa fourth and sixth, split by the MINI combinations.

In the overall picture Fiesta reigns supreme with a margin of 30% over the sibling Focus with Golf third.

Simon Benson, director of motoring services at used car website AA Cars, commented: “Last month saw a further fall in new car registrations – but, much to the relief of manufacturers, this decline has slowed down since the vehicle excise duty tax changes came into force earlier this year.

“Diesel sales have shown a further decline in June, with registrations down almost 15% month-on-month and 10% on the year-to-date.

“Ongoing concerns about pollution around diesels haven’t helped turnaround sales, with Westminster council launching a trial of the additional £2.45 ‘D-charge’ at parking bays in Marylebone and Fitzrovia last week.

“On the other hand, the alternatively fuelled sector enjoyed another strong month as motorists continue to look beyond traditional fuel types. Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles rose significantly in June, achieving a record market share for a second consecutive month.”

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