Fleet new car registrations have continued to grow, despite retail registrations declining for another month.
Demand in June eased slightly, with an overall -0.8% fall in registrations, meeting expectations that market growth would stabilise following a record 2015. Fleet registrations continued the trend of recent months, driving the market with a 4.5% rise and helping to offset a -4.5% drop in private registrations. Business sales are down 25% - combined, fleet and business registrations are up 1.9%.
1,420,636 new cars have been registered so far in 2016 – the best half-year performance ever recorded.
Growth was reported across all fuel types, with diesel and petrol registrations growing 2.3% and 3.0% respectively in the year-to-date. Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), meanwhile, continued the significant gains seen over previous months, up 21.3% compared with the first six months of 2015. AFVs now account for 3.2% of the overall new car market.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “It is far too soon to determine whether the referendum result has had an impact on the new car market. The first six months saw strong demand at record levels but the market undoubtedly cooled over the second quarter. It’s important government takes every measure to restore business and economic confidence to avoid the market contracting in the coming months.”
Rupert Pontin, director of valuations at Glass's, added: “The June new car registration figures are not a great surprise bearing in mind the political instability during the course of the month. To be 0.8% behind June 2015 may be seen as quite a positive for many and to be running at 3.2% above the same period year to date in 2015 is indicative of where Glass’s forecasted the market for 2016 to be 6 months ago. Unfortunately our data shows that pre-registration activity has increased by 9.5% over the same period last year and this is further supported by anecdotal evidence from a number of key industry contacts concerned at the tactical activity demanded by certain manufacturers.
"However, despite the scare tactics employed by both sides of the political spectrum the industry is still in a reasonably good position as it stands today."