Figures from the SMMT show a 3.2% year-on-year increase in new car sales in July, but the rate of growth is slowing

The UK’s new car market continued to grow in July, with almost 180,000 new vehicles registered, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed.

Registrations in July were up by 3.2% compared with the same month last year, while overall sales so far in 2015 have surpassed 1.5 million. July marked the 41st consecutive month of growth for the UK’s new car industry, which has been steadily recovering since early 2012.

The SMMT says a slower increase of sales in July suggests the second half of this year may see a slowdown in the rate of growth. Among the top-selling market segments so far this year have been superminis, small family cars and SUVs/crossovers. In the past 10 years, the market for SUV and crossover vehicles has increased by more than 88%.

Sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, including electric vehicles and hybrids, also continued to rise, with 4314 cars sold last month - a rise of 31% on last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “While more moderate than in recent months, July’s rise in new registrations is good news, and indicative of what we expect for the remainder of 2015. With demand having reached a record high in the first half of the year, we anticipate more stable growth in the coming months."

The head of automotive at global business adviser KPMG, John Leech, said: “The strength of the sterling and improving consumer confidence makes the UK car market attractive to vehicle manufacturers, but the recovering Eurozone markets means that we now forecast muted growth in the second half of 2015. 

“It seems more likely that the UK market will undershoot the all-time sales record of 2.58m vehicles set in 2003. We now expect sales of 2.56m in 2015.”

UK’s best selling new cars in July 2015

1 - Ford Fiesta - 8504 units sold

2 - Ford Focus - 7044

3 - Vauxhall Corsa - 4886

4 - Volkswagen Golf - 4880

5 - Nissan Qashqai - 3789

6 - Audi A3 - 3731

7 - Volkswagen Polo - 3620

8 - Fiat 500 - 3191

9 - Vauxhall Astra - 3187

10 - Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 2868

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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

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6 August 2015
A mere six units separate Vauxhall Corsa from the Volkswagen Golf. While only 58 units stand between Nissan Qashqai and Audi A3. Just something I noticed.

6 August 2015
VW made over 38k sales in July, amongst their platform-shared cars. 14k more than Ford, their nearest competitor. Ford are probably operating at lower margins, too. Back in the 80's, when VW were touted as suitors for Austin Rover, people gasped with horror at this prospect. Especially MPs in marginals, eager to protect ARG's 16% (and falling) market share. VW now have over a fifth of the UK market.

6 August 2015
I wonder why there's such a big gap between the figures for the Fiesta and those for the Corsa? I know the Corsa isn't all new, but as a 'fresh' product its still a long way behind the 'old' Ford. I'm sure they're both equally well discounted and graced with special deals, and the Corsa seems to get good reviews too.

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