New car registrations break two million mark

Ford Fiesta comfortably outsells every other car in the UK.

Ford Fiesta comfortably outsells every other car in the UK. - Credit: Ford supplied

The new car market broke through the two million mark last month with 469,696 models registered with the new 66 plate.

The performance marks the highest September on record, rising 1.6% on the previous September, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

And it took the total number of cars registered so far this year to 2,150,495 units – up 2.6% compared with the same period of 2015. It is only the second time that the two million mark has been passed in September since 2004.

Fleet registrations continued to drive growth, up 7.3%, while registrations to private motorists experienced a small decline, down 1.7% to 223,844 units last month.

Meanwhile, diesel registrations rose 2.8% as petrols declined 1.1%, reversing a recent trend towards petrol.

Alternatively-fuelled vehicles continued to outpace the market, up 32.6% to 16,060 registrations against the same month last year with a market share of 3.4% compared to 2.6% for the previous September.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: 'September is always one of the biggest months for Britain's new car market. The new 66-plate, combined with a diverse range of exciting new models featuring the latest technology, has certainly helped draw buyers into showrooms and many are taking full advantage of the attractive deals and low interest financing options on offer.

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'However, business and consumers place September orders many months in advance, so the ability of the market to maintain this record level of demand will depend on the ability of government to overcome political uncertainty and safeguard the conditions that underpin consumer appetite.'

Last month was the second highest-selling month of the year, only beaten by March which saw the switch to the 16 registration plate when the new car market grew by 5.3% to 518,707 units. It was the biggest ever month since the bi-annual plate change began in 1999 and only the third time the market had surpassed half a million units in a single month.

The Ford Fiesta again led the way last month with 19,769 registations ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa (14.570) and Volkswagen Golf (11,003). The Fiesta is also out front over the first three quarters of the year on 96,139 registrations, followed by the Corsa (64,925) and Ford Focus (57,137).

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