New car registrations showed a marginal decline in August, an expected result due to the strong performances in previous years driven by pre-registration ahead of new emissions regulations that came into force in September 2018 and 2019.
The UK new car market declined by -5.8% in August with 87,226 units registered, the latest SMMT figures showed. Year to date, 915,615 new cars have been registered, -39.7% less than last year. In August, sales of battery electric vehicles rose by 77.6%, diesel sales declined by -39.5% and petrol -14.7%. Demand from private consumers remained stable, down -1.7%, while fleet decreased by 5.5%.
Retailers remain optimistic, 86.5% of dealerships have now reopened and have been busy since. Most staff have come back to work and customer footfall levels, as well as online enquiries, are buoyant.
We expect the movement away from public transport towards privately owned vehicles to continue to benefit the sales of new and used cars. Additionally, the increase in disposable income for a number of consumers who have not been on holiday and were able to save during the lockdown can fuel demand over the coming weeks.
August is a small month in volume terms and it would be wrong to draw any major conclusions from these figures. Looking forward, NFDA expects a very strong September plate change month for new vehicle sales.