New car sales continue to decline

Demand for new cars fell by 8.5 per cent in May

New car sales continue to decline
Year-to-date new car registrations dip slightly by 0.6 per cent.

The UK new car market declined last month, with demand falling by 8.5 per cent, according to figures released by SMMT.

186,265 new cars were registered in the month, with business purchases driving the market, up 20.1 per cent, to offset declines from private and fleet buyers.

Although it dipped slightly in the previous month, the market for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) bounced back in May to continue the upward trend seen in the first quarter and take a new record market share of 4.4 per cent.

More than 8,000 AFVs were registered in the month, representing an increase of 46.7 per cent.

Almost 50,000 new AFVs have joined Britain’s roads so far this year.

Despite a dip of -0.6 per cent in overall registrations since January, more than 1.1 million new cars have been registered on UK roads so far in 2017.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “We expected demand in the new car market to remain negative in May due to the pull-forward to March – which was an all-time record month – resulting from VED reform.

“Added to this, the general election was always likely to give many pause for thought and affect purchasing patterns in the short term.

“Although demand has fallen, it’s important to remember that the market remains at a very high level and, with a raft of new models packed with the latest low emission and connected technology coming to market this summer, we expect the market to remain strong over the year.”

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