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Growth in fleet market offsets slight downturn in private registrations

Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 189,505 cars were registered in the month – the highest total for April since 2003, when 194,312 new vehicles found homes. The overall rise of 2.0% was a significant slowdown compared to the growth of 5.3% recorded for March following the plate change, but was in line with expectations, the SMMT said.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “After such a strong March, April’s steadier performance was to be anticipated, and is in line with our expectations for the year. Consumer confidence remains high as buyers continue to capitalise on attractive finance deals, although this could be affected by political and economic uncertainty in the coming months.”

As with March, overall market growth last month was led by the fleet and business sectors, where respective increases of 6.1% and 2.8% counterbalanced a 2.5% fall in private registrations.

In total, 98,807 fleet registrations were recorded last month and 6,905 units for the sub-25 business market.

Year-to-date, the fleet sector is up 3.8% to 465,707 units while business registrations have risen 10.8% to 38,860. Private registrations for the first four months of the year are also buoyant, up 4.6% to 456,718. Overall the new car market is up 4.4% year-on-year to 961,285 units.

Looking at engine types, registrations of petrol cars were up 3.4% in April, while diesel saw a slight decline of 0.6%. In contrast, uptake of alternative fuel vehicles rose by 26.8%.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 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.