Biggest September for new car sales since 2004
Latest SMMT figures show that a total of 425,861 new cars were registered in September as the new “64” plate boosted volumes; marking a rise of 5.6% and the biggest September since 2004. It also represented the 31st consecutive month of growth in the new car market. However, the SMMT noted that after March’s 18% surge, September’s more moderate growth indicates that demand is starting to level off.
Private registrations rose 5.9% while fleet registrations were up 4.8% from 170,535 to 178,771, although the fleet market share fell slightly from 42.3% in September 2013 to 42% last month.
Meanwhile the sub-25 “Business” sector continued to see strong growth, up 9.3% from 23,737 units in September 2013 to 25,944 last month.
Year to date, total registrations reached 1,958,196 – up 9.1% on January-September 2013. Private registrations were up 10.0% while the fleet market rose 7.4% from 842,223 units to 904,772. Business registrations were up 16.5% from 83,265 units to 97,043 units.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘September’s strong performance underlined the continuing robustness of the UK new car market, particularly in the context of last September’s bumper volumes.
‘Demand for the new 64-plate has been boosted by intensifying confidence in the UK economy, with consumers attracted by a wide range of exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient, new cars. In the months since March – which saw an 18% jump in registrations – the growth has shown signs of levelling off as the market starts to find its natural running rate.’
David Raistrick, UK automotive leader at Deloitte, added: ‘With the UK new car market having contributed nearly 30% of the absolute growth in new car sales achieved across Europe by the end of August, relief will be felt across the industry as today’s new car sales figures for the UK continue to provide a consistent good news story. The month of September is the second most important month of the UK new car sales calendar and the latest results would suggest that 2014 will deliver total new car sales in line with industry predictions.
‘If the new car sales are representative of the performance of the UK economy, there are further signs that confidence within the business sector is improving. Fleet and business car sales are now seeing the sort of growth that has been provided by private sales over the past two and half years. This contributed to diesel sales exceeding petrol sales at the end of August, though the private buyer continues to be attracted by the lower fuel consumption levels offered by diesel power.’
He added: ‘Looking back 12 months, little seems to have changed in the way that the UK and European automotive markets are performing. The UK market has consolidated its position as the second largest market for new cars after Germany and is almost a third larger than France in third place. The German market has returned to growth but at a significantly lower level than the UK as it continues to be affected by weaker performance in the wider European market. From a production perspective, even with extended factory shut downs during August, UK production levels were up 1% on 2013 with nearly 83% of all UK manufactured cars being for the exported market.’