October 22, 2014

New car registrations at five-year high September 2013

The inexorable rise and rise of new car registrations continued in September with new car registrations up 12.1 per cent on 2012.

Photo new car sales September 2013

New car registrations at five-year high September 2013

Despite the UK economy being in the doldrums for much of the past five years, new car registrations have recovered well ahead of the curve and still seem to be unstoppable.

September saw new car registrations hit 403,136 – the highest figure for five and a half years – and the first time since 2008 new car registrations have broken the 400k barrier.

We’ve covered the reasons before – pre-reg cars, dealer discounts and even PPI payouts – but car registrations are certainly continuing to give buoyancy to a recovery that’s still fragile.

But it’s private sales driving the market at the moment, with registrations for non-fleet cars up by an impressive 16.7 per cent to date in 2013 – with the whole market up by 10.8 per cent – and more than 1 in 7 new cars built in the UK.

Still out in front – for September as well as this year – is Ford’s Fiesta with over 20,000 sales in the month followed by the Vauxhall Corsa with almost 14.5k (although the Ford Focus is the second best seller year-to-date).

BMW still heads the ‘Premium’ car makers sales chart with entries for the 1 Series and 3 Series in the top ten, with VW (Golf), Peugeot (208), Nissan (Quashqai) and Fiat (500) all in the top ten.

Mike Hawes from SMMT, which compiles the sales figures, said:

Robust private demand has played a major role in this growth with customers attracted by exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient new models that offer savings in the cost of ownership.

This is the 19th consecutive month of steady growth and, with fleet and business demand still to reach pre-recession levels, we believe the performance to be sustainable. The latest 63-plate should deliver positive results into next year.

All very good, but we’d still like to know what percentage of new car registrations are pre-reg cars by dealers which subsequently appear, much discounted, as used car sales.

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