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Fleet registrations help drive September new car market to record level

Fleet take-up of the new 66-plate helped new car registrations reach record figures in September, latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show.

New cars

A total of 469,696 new cars were registered in the plate-change in September – a steady rise of 1.6% and the highest September on record

Overall new car registrations rose 1.6% last month to 469,696 units – the highest September on record – with fleet registrations up 7.3% to 222,844 units from 207,714 in the same month in 2015. This gave the fleet market a 47.4% market share compared to 44.9%. In comparison the sub-25 business market fell 14.9% to 23,008 units from 27,028, with its market share dipping to 4.9% from 5.8%. Private registrations fell 1.7% to 223,844 units.

Diesel registrations rose 2.8% as petrols declined -1.1%. Alternatively fuelled vehicles continued to outpace the market, up 32.6% against the same month last year with a market share of 3.4%.

Year to date, the new car market was up 2.6% to 2,150,495 units. Fleet registrations rose 5.4% to 1,082,718 units from 1,027,507 for the first nine months of 2015, giving it a 50.3% share of the new car market, compared to 49.0% for the same period last year. Business registrations were down 5.8% to 84,654 units from 89,822, with market share down to 3.9% from 4.3%. Private registrations were slightly ahead at 0.4% to 983,123 units.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “September is always one of the biggest months for Britain’s new car market. The new 66-plate, combined with a diverse range of exciting new models featuring the latest technology, has certainly helped draw buyers into showrooms and many are taking full advantage of the attractive deals and low interest financing options on offer. However business and consumers place September orders many months in advance, so the ability of the market to maintain this record level of demand will depend on the ability of government to overcome political uncertainty and safeguard the conditions that underpin consumer appetite.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.