Small drop in registrations for February ‘but market will bounce back’

Time 9:25 am, March 6, 2017

THE UK new car market remained steady in February, dipping by 0.3 per cent, according to figures released by the SMMT this morning.

A total of 83,115 vehicles were registered in traditionally one of the quietest months of the year ahead of the number plate change in March.

Fleets drove the market, with 45,699 cars registered, up 3.3 per cent, while private demand fell by 4.4 per cent to 36,018 units and business registrations declined by 5.3 per cent to 1,398.

Following January’s strong performance, buyers registered a record 3,308 alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) in February, a 48.9 per cent uplift on 2016, taking a four per cent market share.

This was partly driven by new AFV models going on sale, a result of major investments by manufacturers into cutting edge, fuel-efficient technology.

Petrol registrations experienced an increase – rising 5.8 per cent to 42,826 units – while demand for diesel cars fell by 9.2 per cent compared to the same month in 2016.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘February is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year and a steady performance was expected following another year of record growth in 2016.

‘We expect to see the market bounce back in March as buyers take advantage of the new 17 plate, as well as the last chance to buy a car eligible for current lower VED rates before they change on 1 April.’

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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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