Good news as new car sales up in quiet month

New car sales were up in August despite it being a quieter month traditionally.

New car sales were up in August despite it being a quieter month traditionally. - Credit: supplied

The UK new car market achieved modest growth in August, as registrations rose 3.3% against the same month last year, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Last month saw 81,640 new cars registered, with year-to-date performance remaining positive – up 2.8% to 1.68 million units.

The fleet sector drove the growth with demand, buoyed by attractive finance deals and discounts, rising 7.7% to 43,267, while private registrations fell slightly by -0.2%.

Diesel demand also fell marginally by -0.2%, with petrol registrations edging ahead 5.3% and alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFV) seeing significant growth of 30.8%. Almost 54,000 AFVs have been registered so far in 2016, compared with just over 44,000 last year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: 'August is traditionally one of the quietest months as consumers look ahead to the September plate change, so growth, albeit small, is good news.


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'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.'

And the new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market achieved a solid performance in August, growing 6.3% compared with August 2015,

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Altogether 15,385 new LCVs were registered in Britain – the highest volume for the month since 2006, as businesses took advantage of low-interest rate finance packages and discounts.

Continuing the trend set in recent years, the market in August was driven by two key segments – pick-ups and heavy vans, between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes, both of which saw growth, with demand up 6.9% and 14.4% respectively.

Overall performance for the first eight months of the year remained steady, with a 2.9% increase in demand totalling 231,857 new van registrations.

Mr Hawes said: 'After a slower July, it is good to see growth in the new van market pick up again in August, with a record made in this traditionally quiet month. To ensure this performance continues, it is vital that government takes the necessary steps to secure economic stability and maintain confidence for operators to continue to invest in their fleets.'

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