The UK new car market performed well in terms of registrations in August as a result of the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test (WLTP) from 1 September which pushed consumers to bring forward purchases thanks to a number of attractive deals in the market throughout the month.

New passenger car registrations rose substantially by 23.1% in August with a total of 94,094 unites registered, according to the latest SMMT’s new passenger car registrations figures. Year to date, the market is -4.2% down to 1,571,986 units. Alternative fuel vehicles saw an impressive growth of 88.7%. Registrations of diesel cars declined by -7.7%, petrol rose by 39.1%.

Overall, UK retailers are pleased with August’s performance due to the pull forward effect on the market; however, we need to be aware that the market is likely to be affected over the remainder of the year and into 2019 by WLTP and the issues arising from its introduction including the impact on company car tax and Vehicle Excise Duty rates.

It is encouraging to see that sales of alternative fuel vehicles saw an impressive growth, however, lack of clarity surrounding emissions and, in particular, diesel is still affecting consumer demand. NFDA strongly urges the government to use the Autumn Budget to clarify its position on diesel, vehicle emissions, and vehicle taxes.

Going forward, NFDA expects the market to remain distorted during September and the remainder of the year.