UK new car registrations rose 11.3% in July, the first monthly increase this year, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa was the top-selling model in July

A total of 174,887 cars were registered in July 2020 compared with 157,198 for the same month last year. However, overall registrations are still down by 41.9% or 598,054 units for the year-to-date. SMMT’s full year outlook is for a 30% decline in registrations.

Demand for zero and ultra low emission cars was strong with them taking a 9.0% share of registrations for July, compared with 3.1% for 2019 overall. However, demand for diesel vehicles continued its downward trend in July, falling 25.9% to a market share of 16.5%, while petrol cars were marginally up by 0.3%, and took a market share of 58%.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said:July’s figures are positive, with a boost from demand pent up from earlier in the year and some attractive offers meaning there are some very good deals to be had. We must be cautious, however, as showrooms have only just fully reopened nationwide and there is still much uncertainty about the future.

“By the end of September we should have a clearer picture of whether or not this is a long-term trend. Although this month’s figures provide hope, the market remains fragile in the face of possible future spikes and localised lockdowns as well as, sadly, probable job losses across the economy. The next few weeks will be crucial in showing whether or not we are on the road to recovery.”