RAC Cars News


UK New Car Sales Grow For 42nd Consecutive Month

By raccars Published

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The UK's new car sales boom shows no sign of slowing just yet, with growth of 9.6% in August, traditionally one of the quieter months of the year for new registrations. Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), show that new car sales for the year to date reached 1,634,369 for the end of last month, 7% higher than during the same period in 2014.

With 79,060 unit sales last month, growth was spread fairly evenly among the private, fleet and business markets and among different fuel types. Petrol and diesel sales were almost at parity in August, with unit sales of 38,497 and 38,645 and a market share of 48.5% and 48.9%, respectively. The alternative fuels sector displayed spectacular growth of 52.3% year on year and is holding firm with a 2.4% market share. The SMMT attributed the continued growth to the ongoing availability of generous finance arrangements and the attraction of technologically advanced new model releases.

September sees the release of new 65 registration plates and is usually one of the two busiest months of the year for new car sales which, added to the current level of organic growth, could see new car registrations reach record levels.

However, used car pricing experts, Glass's, suggests that the new car sales figures released by manufacturers may include pre-registered models to give a misleadingly optimistic picture. The firm also believes that the current rate of financed new car purchases is unsustainable and that the finance bubble must break at some point.

August's best sellers list represented an interesting shake up compared to the usual, fairly predictable top ten. The top three was familiar, with the Ford Fiesta still untouchable at 4,753 unit sales and the Ford Focus second but way behind with 2,673. Vauxhall will be extremely disappointed to see that a new model release seems to have dented rather than galvanised sales of the Corsa, which dropped by 12% to fourth place with 2,154 unit sales, behind the third place VW Golf's 2,456. The VW Polo is another long term top ten player, in at fifth place with 1,911 unit sales, with the Audi A3 doing well in sixth at 1,838. However, Vauxhall can take heart as August saw the Mokka make only its fourth ever appearance in the UK top ten best sellers list, on 1,751 unit sales.

The Vauxhall Astra follows its stablemate in eighth pace with unit sales of 1,614 - while this isn't one of its best performances, it suggests buyers could be holding back in favour of the forthcoming new generation of Astra, which will make its public debut this month at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will reach UK forecourts later this year.

The Astra is followed by the stalwart BMW 3 Series at ninth with 1,337 unit sales after disappearing momentarily from the top ten, while the tenth place is another surprise entry in the form of the Ford Kuga. This is the first time the blue oval badged crossover has made the UK top ten, despite regular appearances in the Northern Irish and Welsh best seller lists. 1,325 Kugas were sold in August.

Overall, both Ford and Vauxhall increased their market share as the two biggest selling brands in the UK, at 15% and 11.3% respectively. However, Volkswagen is eagerly chasing Vauxhall with sales growth of 24% to take a 9.6% market share. Audi is the UK's fourth best-selling brand, followed by BMW and then Mercedes-Benz. Smaller market shares are owned by Toyota, Mazda, Land Rover, Jaguar and Mitsubishi, but all displayed impressive gains in August.

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