Decline in new car sales begins to slow as fleet and diesel vehicles increase in popularity

New car registrations fell just 1.7 per cent year-on-year last month, the smallest decrease of the year so far.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 150,431 units were registered last month. Chief exec Paul Everitt claimed there was value across the market, even though it remains cautious.

“Consumers remain cautious, but with significantly improved fuel economy, service plans and more affordable finance, there is great value to offer across the market," he said in a statement.

The sale of fleet and diesel vehicles are on the increase however with both sales figures growing by more than 10 per cent compared to May last year.

Diesel also increased its market share to 52.9 per cent up from 46.9 per cent in May last year.

Demand for private cars fell the greatest amount with a decrease of 15.3 per cent from May 2010. Fleet vehicles are increasing and currently supporting the market with an overall increase of 11.1 per cent in May.

The Ford Fiesta was the overall best selling car in May, ahead of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

UK's top 10 selling cars in May 20111. Ford Fiesta 8135 units2. Ford Focus 64923. Volkswagen Golf 55414. Vauxhall Corsa 53685. Vauxhall Astra 50116. Vauxhall Insignia 42057. BMW 3-series 40588. Mini 31399. Nissan Qashqai 308310. Volkswagen Passat 2981

Paul Taylor

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run