THE UK new car market experienced modest growth in October following a bumper plate-change month in September, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
A total of 180,168 cars were driven off the UK’s forecourts last month as registrations grew 1.4 per cent.
Fleet registrations drove the growth, with demand rising 4.2 per cent, while registrations to private buyers fell by 1.1 per cent as the market, currently at an all-time high, stabilises after a lengthy period of growth.
Alternatively-fuelled vehicles continued to grow in popularity, rising 12.4 per cent in October and 23.3 per cent in the year so far to 75,987 registrations – the highest ever level achieved in the first 10 months of the year.
Year-to-date performance for the overall market remains ahead by 2.5 per cent, with 2,330,663 new cars registered.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘September’s number plate change is always a hard act to follow so the market’s growth in October, albeit moderate, is welcome news.
‘Low interest rates, affordable finance packages and a range of exciting new models helped attract buyers into showrooms and we now look to government to ensure consumer and business confidence remains buoyant.’
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers’ Association, said: ‘The retail motor industry has demonstrated its resilience since the EU referendum with the market performing well [in the] year-to-date.
‘The continued strong performance of alternatively-fuelled vehicles is particularly pleasing with growth of 12.4 per cent in October. The NFDA expects demand for alternatively-fuelled vehicles to remain high for the foreseeable future which will benefit our members.
‘Yesterday’s Bank of England decision to hold interest rates at 0.25 per cent and to revise up its UK growth forecast from two per cent to 2.2 per cent are positive signals for the UK economy.
‘Record low interest rates and the highest employment levels since recording started, will continue to support consumers’ confidence and help the retail motor sector perform well despite challenges.’
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