DEMAND for new cars in the UK remained stable in May with a steady 2.5 per cent growth in registrations, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
A total of 203,585 cars were registered in the month, May’s highest total since 2002.
Following the trend set in the previous two months, fleet registrations drove the growth, with an 8.8 per cent rise counterbalancing a three per cent fall in registrations to private customers.
Demand for diesel cars grew five per cent, outstripping that for petrol models, which saw a marginal decline of 0.6 per cent. Uptake of alternatively-fuelled vehicles, meanwhile, continued to outpace the overall market with registrations increasing by 12.1 per cent.
A total of 1,164,870 cars have now been registered in 2016 – 4.1 per cent ahead of the same period last year. However, May demonstrated a continuation of the easing of growth, being the second consecutive month of sub-three per cent growth in registrations – evidence of increasing market stability following a record 2015.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘The new car market in May remained high with compelling offers available on the latest vehicles, but the low growth is further evidence of the market cooling in the face of concerns around economic and political stability.
‘Whether this is the result of some buyers holding off until the current uncertainty is resolved or a sign of a more stable market for new cars remains to be seen.’