August registrations up 10.9 per cent

Time 8:13 am, September 5, 2013

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NEW car registrations in August grew 10.9 per cent  to 65,937 units.

August recorded the fifth consecutive month of double-digit growth, pushing the year-to-date market up 10.4 per cent to 1,391,788 units.

According to the SMMT, three per cent of annual registrations occur in August ahead of September’s plate change, which accounts for around 17 per cent of full-year registrations.

Car registrations of all fuel types continued to grow last month. Meanwhile, alternatively-fuelled vehicles were up 41.4 per cent.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: ‘UK new car registrations have now risen consecutively for a year and a half. Private and fleet buyers are clearly capitalising on attractive deals and new technologies against a backdrop of increasing economic confidence.’

He added: ‘Ahead of the September plate-change, August always has far fewer registrations, but the 10.9 per cent rise this month bodes well for the new 63-plate.’

Commenting on these figures, Head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, Richard Low, said: ‘New car sales continue to motor ahead, with sales up now for the 18th month in a row.

‘This is great news for an industry that has been carefully balancing supply with demand, and with the new plate change, growing consumer confidence and attractive packages, I think we’ll be in for a good autumn.’

Looking ahead to the end of the 2013, UK head of automotive retail at KPMG, Derek McAllan, says the UK’s main worry is if manufacturers pump additional units into the country, following the slump in European sales: ‘Significantly outperforming the rest of the UK retail sector and other European car markets, the motor retail market looks set to remain strong for the remainder of the year and into 2014.

‘Disappointingly, after a modest recovery for most of Europe in July, sales slumped in August, with France and Germany recording an 11 per cent and 6 per cent fall respectively.’

He added: ‘The main worry for the UK is if the continued slump in Europe will tempt manufacturers to pump additional units into the UK. Too many additional units will bring margin erosion but worse Residual Value volatility. So all eyes should be on mainland Europe for the next two months sales figures.’

Meanwhile, director of National Franchised Dealers Association, Sue Robinson, said: ‘It is encouraging that the new car market continued to thrive during August in what is traditionally a low volume months for car sales.

‘August is traditionally a small market as buyers wait for the plate change on September 1 before purchasing a new vehicle. Therefore, after such a positive increase in sales during August, we anticipate that sales of the new 63-plate to do very well.’

She added: ‘This month’s NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey recorded an improvement in manufacturer and dealer relationships over recent months. With the significant boost to new car registrations during 2013 and the return of consumers to showrooms the increase in scores could partly be due to improved dealer profitability due to the recovering economy.’






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