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New VED rates take toll on April fleet registrations

Both the fleet and overall new car markets saw double-digit declines in April following the implementation of new VED rates.

April's decline in registrations has been attributed to buyers' rush in March to beat the VED changes.

April’s decline in registrations has been attributed to buyers’ rush in March to beat the VED changes.

Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that fleet registrations last month fell 12.3% to 86,678 units while the sub-25 business market dropped 21.0% to 5,486 units. This compares to a 28.4% drop in private registrations to 59,912 units. Overall, the new car market in April declined 19.8% to 152,076 units.

Petrol, diesel and alternatively fuelled vehicle registrations also declined, with alternatively fuelled vehicle demand down for the first time in 47 months, albeit by a marginal 1.3%.

The year-to-date picture was more positive however, with a record 972,092 cars registered in the first four months, up 1.1%. Fleet registrations rose 4.2% to 485,498 units while the business market was up 3.2% to 40,216 units. Private registrations however declined 2.2% to 446,378 units.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With the rush to register new cars and avoid VED tax rises before the end of March, as well as fewer selling days due to the later Easter, April was always going to be much slower. It’s important to note that the market remains at record levels as customers still see many benefits in purchasing a new car. We therefore expect demand to stabilise over the year as the turbulence created by these tax changes decreases.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 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. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.

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