The UK new car market grew 10.4% in April, with 167,911 new units registered, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Demand was affected by a number of factors, including the timing of Easter, which meant two additional selling days this April, versus 2017, and March’s adverse weather, which pushed some deliveries into April. Most significant, however, were the VED changes that came into force last April, causing a pull forward into March 2017 and a subsequent depressed April market.
Demand for petrol cars grew in April, up 38.5%, while diesel registrations continued the recent trend, declining by 24.9%. Meanwhile, registrations of plug-in and hybrid electric cars continued to rise, up 49.3%. Alternatively fuelled vehicles now account for 5.6% of the market.
Despite the rise in the month, the overall new car market remains down year to date, with new registrations in the first four months falling -8.8%, year-on-year, to 886,400 units.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes commented: “It’s important not to look at one month in isolation and, given the major disruption to last April’s market caused by sweeping VED changes, this increase is not unexpected.
“While the continuing growth in demand for plug-in and hybrid cars is positive news, the market share of these vehicles remains low and will do little to offset damaging declines elsewhere.
“Consumers need certainty about future policies towards different fuel types, including diesel, and a compelling package of incentives to deliver long-term confidence in the newest technologies.”