RAC Cars News


New Car Sales Record Extended in September

By raccars Published

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Britain's new car sales boom shows no sign of diminishing, with September marking the 31st consecutive month of growth and the highest September sales volume since 2004. Only in March of this year were higher monthly sales posted.

The SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), recorded new car registrations of 425,861 units, 5.6% higher than September last year. This takes the total new car registrations for the year to date to 1,958,196 units for a 9.1% increase upon the same period last year. Nonetheless, there are signs that stability is returning to the new car market, with sales figures gradually levelling off since March's huge 18% rise in sales.

September is always expected to be a bumper month for sales of new cars, as it coincides with the second of the year's registration plate changes. The UK graduated from annual to bi-annual plate changes in 1999, meaning that the two months of March and September can assume about a third of the total new car registrations for the whole year. The most popular registration plate since 1998 wore the digits '04, representing March to August 2004, during which period 1,360,142 new cars were registered. The '03 plate, for the same period of 2003, was almost as popular, with only 568 fewer cars registered. The recently superseded '14 plate from March to September this year is only the fifth biggest selling since 1998, showing that while new car sales are booming, they have yet to reach over-inflated pre-recessionary heights.

It is believed that growing consumer confidence in the UK assisted the demand for September's new '64' registration plates, with car buyers also encouraged to invest by the extra fuel economy provided by newer vehicle technologies. Of the new cars registered in September, the average fuel economy is 59mpg and CO2 emissions are 122.3g/km. Alternative fuel vehicles in particular saw a big increase, rising 50% to take a 2% market share. The rest of the market was fairly evenly split between petrol and diesel.

The Ford Fiesta was, as usual, by far Britain's most popular car with 23,266 units sold in September. The Ford Focus, in second place, was way behind on 13,508 unit sales, followed by the Volkswagen Golf with 13,011, the Vauxhall Corsa on 12,506 and the Volkswagen Polo in fifth place with 10,312 sales. The rest of the top 10 is completed by the Fiat 500, Vauxhall Astra, Audi A3, Peugeot 208 and the Nissan Qashqai.

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