UK NEW car registrations ‘cooled off’ in the wake of the Brexit vote, increasing by just 0.1 per cent in July, according to figures released today by the SMMT.
A total of 1,599,159 new cars have been registered so far this year, putting demand in the year-to-date 2.8 per cent higher than for the same period in 2015 following a strong first quarter.
But in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, July’s modest increase was markedly down on the figure for first half of the year – 3.2 per cent.
July followed the trend seen throughout this year whereby lower private registrations were offset by fleet purchases, which increased by five per cent.
Demand for alternatively-fuelled vehicles remained remarkably strong with 24.7 per cent more registrations compared with the same month in 2015.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘After a healthy start to 2016 and record registrations in 2015, the market is showing signs of cooling.
‘The automotive market is a vital part of the British economy and it’s important the government delivers the economic conditions which instil business and consumer confidence.
‘With low interest rates, attractive finance options and exciting new models coming to the showrooms, the market still has lots to offer customers.’
Richard Jones, managing director, Black Horse, one of the UK’s leading motor finance providers, and part of Lloyds Banking Group, said: ‘July’s figures show resilience for the industry against a backdrop of challenging economic conditions.
‘Ongoing uncertainty doesn’t seem to have impacted new car sales, but I would expect that the remainder of 2016 will bring further challenges and we might well see this reflected in more modest sales figures later in the year.’
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