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Demand for diesel cars as strong as ever during record plate-change month, says SMMT

Time 9:11 am, October 6, 2015

NEW car registrations in the UK reached their highest-ever September total last month, according to figures released today 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 total number of cars registered in 2015 so far is 2,096,886 – 7.1 per cent 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 per cent and 12.3 per cent respectively, and alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) recorded another strong month with volumes up 21.7 per cent. This puts total year-to-date growth at 3.1 per cent for diesel, 9.5 per cent for petrol and 48.7 per cent for AFVs.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, 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.’

In a veiled reference to the Volkswagen emissions scandal, he added: ‘It is too early to draw conclusions, but customer demand for diesel remained strong, accounting for one in two cars registered.’

Ian Gilmartin, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said: ‘September is always a crucial month for the motor industry, and following a difficult couple of weeks, this positive data will rightly be welcomed. However, we need to ensure that increasing registrations really do translate to good results in the showrooms and forecourts.

‘Margin pressure is a growing concern for some dealers, and finding the right formula to ensure that the whole industry continues to succeed is going to be vital in the final part of 2015.’

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Dave Brown's avatar

Dave, production editor on Car Dealer Magazine, is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience in the worlds of newspapers, magazines and public relations.

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