The new car market bucked recent trends and grew slightly in July, helped by increased demand for petrol and hybrid cars.
A total of 163,898 new cars were registered last month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). That’s a 1.2% increase on the same period last year, and a boost compared with June, when new car registrations were down 3.5% year on year.
A total of 1,477,892 new cars have been registered so far this year – down 5.5% on the 1,563,808 registered in the first seven months of 2017.
Much of that decline can be attributed to the ongoing slump in demand for diesel; registrations of new diesel cars are down 29.6% so far in 2018. By contrast, petrol sales are up 12.3% – with a 20.1% increase in July. A total of 913,396 petrol cars have been registered in 2018, compared with 813,133 by this point last year.
There was similar growth among alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), with year-to-date registrations up 23.8%. That means AFVs account for 4.3% of all new cars registered so far this year – a record.
A total of 10,734 AFVs were registered in July, a 21.0% increase on the same month last year. Within that, demand for plug-in hybrids was up 33.5%, with hybrid registrations growing by 17.5%. Demand for electric vehicles grew 2.4%.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “It’s great to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this growth, and the Government’s acknowledgement of the vital role new-tech diesel will play in its Road to Zero strategy should help even more motorists benefit from the latest, safest and low-emission technology over the coming months.”
The Ford Fiesta was once again the UK's best-selling car, with 6222 sold in July. So far, 62,637 Fiesta have been sold in the UK this year.