April sees new car sales increase
04 May 2018
Author: Sean Keywood
The number of new cars registered in the UK increased by 10.4% year-on-year during April - the first rise in sales in more than a year.
However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has played down the rise, pointing out that sales in April 2017 were hit by changes to vehicle excise duty (VED).
The SMMT also said demand was affected by the timing of Easter, which meant two additional selling days this April, and adverse weather in March, which pushed some deliveries into April.
Demand for diesel cars continued to fall steeply year-on-year, down 24.9%, but this was more than compensated for by the demand for petrol cars, which grew by 38.5%, and for plug-in and hybrid electric cars, up 49.3%, although the latter still account for only 5.6% of the market.
The overall rise in the market, to 167,911 registrations, was mostly driven by private buyers, to whom registrations increased by 26.3% year-on-year, whereas fleet demand rose by only 0.9%.
Business registrations - to firms with less than 25 vehicles - fell by 12.9%, but these make up a small share of the overall market.
For the year so far, registrations are down 8.8% compared with the same period in 2017.
The SMMT expects this decline to slow during the rest of the year, but has warned that political and economic uncertainty will continue to affect the market and further instability could cause additional disruption.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "It's important not to look at one month in isolation and, given the major disruption to last April's market caused by sweeping VED changes, this increase is not unexpected.
"While the continuing growth in demand for plug-in and hybrid cars is positive news, the market share of these vehicles remains low and will do little to offset damaging declines elsewhere.
"Consumers need certainty about future policies towards different fuel types, including diesel, and a compelling package of incentives to deliver long-term confidence in the newest technologies."