RAC Cars News


Sales Growth Once Again For August

By raccars Published

There's good news once again for the UK's auto industry, with sales figures for August reporting an eighteenth successive month of growth. 65,937 unit sales mean sales were up by 10.9% last month.

The news is even more encouraging as, traditionally, August is the UK's quietest month for new car registrations, ahead of the September plate change. Typically, only 3% of new car registrations occur in August and about 17% after new plates are released in September. Similar behaviour is seen in the February-March plate change period.

As the fifth consecutive month of double digit growth, August's figures put year to date growth up to 10.4%, with a total of 1,391,788 new cars registered in 2013 to date. Once again, the healthiest growth was in the private sector, but all areas were positive. Increases were once again split fairly evenly between petrol and diesel fuels, plus an impressive 41.4% gain in alternative fuel vehicles.

Private sales are being propelled with the aid of generous finance and sales packages by manufacturers and the release of attractive new technologies. The auto industry is riding on a wave of optimism, as it expects the success to only grow in September, traditionally the busiest month of the year for new registrations. The period from March to August this year, or '13' plates, was the healthiest volume increase since pre-recession times and 10.4% higher than the same period last year.

There are few surprises among the bestselling models of the month, although some reshuffling of the usual suspects has taken place. The Ford Fiesta is in its customary position at the top of the pile, with 3,289 unit sales for August and 75,418 for the year to date and, this month, was succeeded by the Vauxhall Astra with 2,428 units shifted. The VW Golf is third, the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa both fell in popularity this summer, in fourth and fifth places, respectively. The rest of the top ten comprises the BMW 1 Series, Nissan Qashqai, BMW 3 Series, VW Polo and Vauxhall Insignia.

A knock on effect of healthy new car sales is buoyancy in the used car market. An influx of part-exchange and ex-fleet vehicles will contribute to a decrease in prices and, hopefully, an increase in customers. The rush will also help to solve stock shortages reported by 85% of used car dealers. Many of the used vehicles becoming available will be low mileage, two or three year old models.

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