According to results from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the UK new car market fell by 1.6% in August by year-on-year comparison, to 92,573 registrations.
There was more positive news for zero emission vehicle uptake, with registrations up nearly fivefold to take a record 3.4% market share, as hybrids also register growth.
August is typically one of the smallest months of the year, with many consumers expected to be waiting for the new ’69’ plate to be released in September. Registrations from both the private and fleet sectors declined in the month of August, down 1.7% and 3.5% respectively.
Diesel registrations fell for the 29th month in a row, though at a slower pace than recently experienced (-12.2%), while petrol demand remained stable, up 1.0%. Zero emission cars saw the biggest percentage growth, up 377.5%, to 3,147 units as new models and some pent up demand boosted registrations, while 4,014 hybrid electric cars also joined UK roads, an uplift of 36.2%. However, the decline in plug-in hybrid registrations continued, down -71.8% to 907 vehicles.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “August is typically the new car market’s quietest month so the huge increase in EV registrations is very visible but especially welcome. It’s great to see consumers respond to the massive industry investment made over many years.
“While this is encouraging, these figures also show the scale of the challenge ahead. It’s a long road to zero and while manufacturers can deliver the technology, they can’t dictate the pace of uptake.
“To support a smooth transition and deliver environmental gains now, we need a long-term government commitment to measures that give consumers confidence to invest in the latest technologies that best suit their needs.”
The best selling car for the month was the Ford Fiesta, with 3,978 vehicles registered in August. Four of the top ten sellers were from the Ford marque.
In July this year the SMMT penned an open letter to Boris Johnson, urging the newly-appointed prime minister to avoid a no-deal Brexit.