New car registrations in the UK reached their highest September total last month, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
A total of 462,517 cars were registered in September as buyers took advantage of a range of competitive deals on the latest 65-plate, making it the 43rd consecutive month of growth in the market.
The number of cars registered in 2015 so far is 2,096,886 – 7.1% higher than at the same point last year. It is the first time that the two million mark has been passed in September since 2004.
Gains were made across all market sectors – private, fleet and business – while petrol, diesel and alternatively-fuelled vehicles all saw increased demand. In line with typical performance so far this year, registrations of diesel and petrol cars in September grew 4.1% and 12.3% respectively, and alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) recorded another strong month with volumes up 21.7%. This puts year-to-date growth at 3.1% for diesel, 9.5% for petrol and 48.7% for AFVs.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “September is traditionally one of the year’s biggest months for new car registrations, and last month set an autumn record. With plenty of attractive, affordable deals available on the new 65-plate, Britain’s car buyers – whether private, fleet or business consumers – were busier than ever. The market reached pre-recession levels some time ago, and we anticipate some levelling off in the coming months. It is too early to draw conclusions, but customer demand for diesel remained strong, accounting for one in two cars registered.”
“It is positive to see that the new car market has continued to remain strong during September and the successful plate change reflects growing economic confidence,” said Sue Robinson, director of National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK.
She added: “The fleet market remains strong with a 15.2% increase as business confidence grows, and in turn encourages businesses to invest in new vehicles.
“The NFDA is hopeful that the growth and stability of the market shown by the latest plate change will continue through the remainder of the year.”