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UK new car market will plateau in the second half of 2016, says KPMG

Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 203,585 new cars were registered last month – up 2.5% and marking the highest total for May since 2002.

Following the trend set in the previous two months, an 8.8% rise in fleet registrations helped offset a -3.0% fall in registrations to private customers and a 20.2% decline in the sub-25 business sector.

The figures come on the back of 2015’s best-ever fleet and overall new car market registrations.

Commenting on the May data, John Leech, head of automotive at KPMG UK, said: “This is the third month that consumer demand has softened and signals that the top of the market has been reached for consumers following 2015’s all-time record sales. Sterling has weakened by 11% since November 2015 due to Brexit fears but so far this has not translated into transaction prices as manufacturers anticipate this is a short-term fluctuation. Cheap PCP car finance offered by manufacturers remains widely available and with renewals rising, it is unlikely that we will see consumer demand soften substantially further this year.

“Fleet sales are unlikely to keep up their current pace of growth for long, however it is likely that the total UK car market will plateau in the second half of 2016.”

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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.