Fleet registrations outperform new car market
Fleet registrations last month rose 9.0% from 85,447 to 93,095 units, bringing the fleet market share up to 50.1% from 48.3% a year ago.
However, sub-25 business registrations fell 12.4% from 7,651 to 6,703. Private registrations rose 2.7% with the total market up 5.1% from 176,820 to 185,778 units.
Year to date, the fleet market rose 13.4% from 394,992 to 447,773 units, again increasing its market share, from 45.7% to 48.7%. The business sector however declined 9.1% from 38,560 to 35,062 units.
Private registrations for the first four months of the year rose 1.4% with the full market up 6.4% from 864,942 to 920,366 units.
The SMMT said that April's strong performance, which comes after a record first quarter for the sector, tracks a 12-year high for consumer confidence and continues a pattern of growth in new car registrations around general elections that dates back to 1979. Demand in the period following 7 May is forecast to continue in line with this trend and as new products, attractive finance deals and low interest rates inspire consumers and businesses to give the new car market their vote of confidence.
It added that all but three of the past nine general elections have coincided with a spike in new car demand in the three months immediately before and after polling day. Notable exceptions were during the recessions of 1992 and 2010, while the 2005 election period saw registrations dip as part of natural market readjustment after hitting peak volumes in 2002.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "Today's figures highlight the current strength of consumer confidence, even at a time of such political uncertainty. We are confident that the UK’s new car market – so symbolic of economic mood – will continue to thrive, but long-term success will depend largely on economic and political stability in the months and years ahead. Whatever the outcome of today’s election, the next government must act quickly to uphold economic certainty and reassure consumers and markets."