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Fleet sector drives new car registrations in August

Rising fleet demand continued to offset lower private new car registrations in August, new figures show.

Row of cars

The fleet sector drove the new car market in August, with registrations up 7.7% while private demand fell -0.2%

The data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that the fleet sector was up 7.7% last month to 43,267 units from 40,182 for the same month last year.

The increase helped counter a 28.4% fall in the sub-25 business sector and a 0.2% decline in private registrations. As a result,  81,640 new cars were registered in the overall new car market for August, up 3.3% on 2015.

Diesel demand fell marginally by -0.2%, with petrol registrations edging ahead 5.3% and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) seeing significant growth of 30.8%.

The new car market and fleet registrations also remained up year to date. For the first eight months of the year, 1,680,799 cars were registered, up 2.8%. The fleet sector rose 4.9% with a total of 859,874 units compared to 819,793 for the same period in 2015. The business sector was down 1.8% from 62,794 units to 61,646 but private registrations were up 1.0%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented on the latest figures, saying: “August is traditionally one of the quietest months as consumers look ahead to the September plate change, so growth, albeit small, is good news. With showrooms full of exciting models featuring the very latest technology and a raft of affordable finance options, it still makes economic sense to consider buying a new car. The key to maintaining this strong market is consumer confidence for which we look to government to deliver the conditions for economic growth.”

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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.