New car market declines in September

New car registrations declined -9.3% in September to 426,170 units. The market is now -3.9% down on 2016 which equates to 2,066,411m registered. Sales of alternative fuel vehicles continue to grow by 41% in September, whilst petrol registrations grew by -1.2% and diesel falling by -21.7%.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said ‘The new car market reached a total of over 2m vehicles registered in the year to date and is now down by -3.9% on last year, in line with forecasts. The figures are lower year on year as a result of the record September in 2016, however the new car market still remains at historically high levels.

‘Consumers walking into the showroom need more clarity on issues such as diesel and air quality. We are working closely with car retailers to assist them in educating their customers. Consumers also need to feel confident in the economy when embarking on high value items such as motor vehicles.’

‘On a positive note, the used car market has shown incredible signs of resilience which can partly offset the current decline in new car sales. As we enter the final quarter of the year, we expect the UK new car market to continue to perform at these levels.’

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘September is always a barometer of the health of the UK new car market so this decline will cause considerable concern. Business and political uncertainty is reducing buyer confidence, with consumers and businesses more likely to delay big ticket purchases. The confusion surrounding air quality plans has not helped, but consumers should be reassured that all the new diesel and petrol models on the market will not face any bans or additional charges. Manufacturers’ scrappage schemes are proving popular and such schemes are to be encouraged given fleet renewal is the best way to address environmental issues in our towns and cities.’