The UK new car market declined 4.1% in July to 157,198 cars sold, marking the lowest July market since 2012, according to Cox Automotive.
The decline marks an unprecedented fifth consecutive month of falling new car sales. There was however a significant increase in stock availability in the month, with 57% of dealers stating it had improved when compared with July 2018.
Four in 10 dealers reported increased online activity and a 60% improvement in footfall for the start of Q3.
Elsewhere, registrations for electric vehicles almost tripled year-on-year in July. The average price for alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) continued to rise in the month. All fuel types experienced positive price increases, with a double digit increase for AFVs.
Whilst July trading started reasonably well and stock availability in the wholesale market did improve in July, according to Cox Automotive, there has been a drop-off in consumer demand. Both average wholesale prices and volumes experienced an increase of 5% month-on-month, while average mileage eased-up slightly to 61,463.
Philip Nothard, customer insight and strategy director at Cox Automotive, said: “Whilst the wholesale market remains challenging and a tad inconsistent, it is positive to see stock availability improving. We are also seeing some dealers moving to Grade 3 product. The significant hike in AFVs prices demonstrates that there is a growing demand from consumers and a real appetite to evolve their stock profiles amongst dealers.
“From a used car perspective, increased levels of pre-registration product entering the sector will create additional much-needed volumes in the wholesale market. We also anticipate increased fleet disposals, as fleet operators replenish stock fleets.
“Although we could experience unseasonal registration throughout August and September, considering the current headwinds facing the sector, performance and activity remain reasonably healthy.”