The performance marks the highest September on record, while the total number of cars registered so far this year also grew to 2,150,495 units – up 2.6% compared with the same period last year. 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 in the month. Meanwhile, diesel registrations rose 2.8% as petrols declined -1.1%. Alternatively fuelled vehicles continued to outpace the market, up 32.6% against the same month last year with a market share of 3.4%.
Market leaders Ford, Vauxhall and VW all lost significant market share to a host of rivals and premium brands.
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.
“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.”
Chris Bosworth, Director of Strategy at Close Brothers Motor Finance, comments on the figures for September said there was a concerning underlying trend.
“It is important to analyse the figures, rather than just looking at the headlines. As we have seen for the last six months, private sales have continued to fall causing the growth trajectory of new car registrations to steadily drop. Many consumers are now starting to gravitate to well-priced ‘nearly-new’ stock as manufacturers reduce the number of subsidised finance offers available.
“With the business market likely to be impacted by the outcome of the current HMRC review into company cars, the private sales market will become increasingly important to overall registrations in the UK.”
In Wales last month, new car registrations slipped by just 0.11% to 17,439.
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German new-car registrations rose by 9.4 percent in September with Lexus, Renault, Fiat and Land Rover gaining.
Registrations increased year-on-year to 298,000, the country’s KBA motor transport authority said today and in a reverse of the UK, sales to private buyers jumped by 22 percent while business sales increased 3.9 percent.