Steady growth for new car registrations 

New car registrations saw steady growth in July, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 178,420 cars were registered – an uplift of 3.2% on the same month last year – while registrations in 2015 so far have risen 6.5% to surpass 1.5 million.

The UK new car market has seen consistent, strong growth since early 2012, with July marking the 41stconsecutive month of increases thanks to prevailing economic confidence combined with low interest rates and attractive finance deals. While the first six months of 2015 represented an all-time record high for registrations, the more modest increase in July is suggestive of a more stable second half of the year as demand levels.

The top-selling segments so far this year have been Supermini, Lower Medium (small family cars) and Dual Purpose (SUVs and crossovers). Volume growth in all three segments reflects a shift in buying habits over the past decade, with the Supermini and Dual Purpose segments enjoying the biggest gains.

In particular, demand for Superminis has grown 22.7% since 2005 – a result of consumers downsizing to smaller cars that offer significantly improved refinement, comfort and specification than their equivalents a decade ago. The market for Dual Purpose vehicles, meanwhile, has seen a staggering 88.5% leap over the past decade as manufacturers have introduced new models to cater for buyers seeking more versatility.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive said, ‘While more moderate than in recent months, July’s rise in new car registrations is good news, and indicative of what we expect for the remainder of 2015. With demand having reached a record high in the first half of the year, we anticipate more stable growth in the coming months.’

New car registrations by segment – 2005 vs 2015 (January-July totals)

 

July Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
2015 178,420 87,672 86,434 4,314 77,500 94,359 6,561
2014 172,907 91,322 78,291 3,294 76,756 88,680 7,471
% change 3.2% -4.0% 10.4% 31.0% 1.0% 6.4% -12.2%
Mkt share ’15 49.1% 48.4% 2.4% 43.4% 52.9% 3.7%
Mkt share ’14 52.8% 45.3% 1.9% 44.4% 51.3% 4.3%
Year-to-date Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
2015 1,555,309 753,274 759,788 42,247 714,479 779,547 61,283
2014 1,460,172 734,195 699,346 26,631 700,505 694,365 65,302
% change 6.5% 2.6% 8.6% 58.6% 2.0% 12.3% -6.2%
Mkt share ’15 48.4% 48.9% 2.7% 45.9% 50.1% 3.9%
Mkt share ’14 50.3% 47.9% 1.8% 48.0% 47.6% 4.5%
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Total cars 2,131,795 1,994,999 2,030,846 1,941,253 2,044,609 2,264,737 2,476,435
Best sellers July Year-to-date
1 Ford Fiesta 8,504 1 Ford Fiesta 80,494
2 Ford Focus 7,044 2 Vauxhall Corsa 55,011
3 Vauxhall Corsa 4,886 3 Ford Focus 52,122
4 Volkswagen Golf 4,880 4 Volkswagen Golf 43,141
5 Nissan Qashqai 3,789 5 Nissan Qashqai 38,290
6 Audi A3 3,731 6 Vauxhall Astra 33,153
7 Volkswagen Polo 3,620 7 Volkswagen Polo 32,600
8 Fiat 500 3,191 8 Audi A3 29,496
9 Vauxhall Astra 3,187 9 Mercedes-Benz C Class 27,544
10 Mercedes-Benz C Class 2,868 10 Fiat 500 25,815

New car registrations – rolling-year totals, December 2007 to present

‘It is positive to see the new car market has now achieved 41 consecutive months of growth – increasing 3.2% in July’ said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, commenting on the SMMT’s new car registration figures.

Robinson continued, ‘It is encouraging to see that vehicles are still being sold and consumers are taking advantage of strong finance deals and competitive offers.’

‘The market is appearing to be levelling off as the cycle now matures, however, there continues to be speculation that registration figures may not reflect the real number of cars actually being sold.’