Currently reading: New-car registrations surge in August to highest in years
Market rose 23.1% last month, with record growth for hybrid and plug-in models after a year-long slump
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2 mins read
5 September 2018

The UK car market enjoyed a substantial boost in August, with year-on-year increases of 23.1%, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 94,094 new cars were registered in August, traditionally one of the year’s quietest months for sales. The most dramatic sector increase was for alternatively fuelled vehicles, including hybrids and fully electric models, which nearly doubled over the same period in 2017, recording 88.7% year-on-year growth. 

Overall, the car market in western Europe saw growth of around 20% on average last month. The UK’s figure for August is the best since at least 2002, according to the data. However, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes warned against viewing the market as recovering fully from 2018’s previous slump.

He said: “Given August is always a small month for new-car registrations ahead of the important plate-change month of September, it would be wrong to view the market as booming. Indeed, this past month has seen significant variances as regulatory changes have disrupted some supplies.” 

Much of the dramatic surge in vehicle registrations can be attributed to the introduction of new WLTP (World harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure) regulations, which determine that all cars manufactured after 1 September this year must have been put under a stricter emissions testing regime.

Vehicles manufactured under the old NEDC testing rules had to be registered by 31 August. As a result, car makers have been registering cars in bulk before the new rules coming into place. This stock can still be sold on forecourts for another year.

The Ford Fiesta retains the top spot for sales, with 4552 registered. Regular challengers such as the Volkswagen Golf, BMW 3 Series and Nissan Qashqai remain in the top 10 too. New entrants also feature, such as the Suzuki Swift and Honda Jazz

An exceptional number of discount deals in the past month is another reason cited for the sharp increase. It comes after several months of market unrest, which saw UK car registrations down 6.3%. June witnessed the lowest number of new cars registered since 2014, although a small amount of growth was measured in June.

Much of this year’s car market issues in Europe is due to an ongoing slump in demand for diesel, driven by uncertainty over the fuel’s future and fears of increased taxation to come. 

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scotty5 5 September 2018

Hullo.

"However, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes warned against viewing the market as recovering fully from 2018’s previous slump."

No.  You don't say.  Well I never.

If Scottish Television ever decide to make "Last Call" again, he'd be my no.1 candidate to play the Rev. I.M. Jolly.

fadyady 5 September 2018

WLTP impact

Compared to the incredible sales boost in countries such as Spain and France, UK's 23% looks mundane. At least 20% of these extra registrations are self-registrations which will allow the dealers to carry on selling the pre-WLTP vehicles. WLTP-tested vehicles are typically 20-30% dirtier on paper. Therefore they will cost higher in taxes hence this Europe-wide rush. Next month sales figures would be interesting and may conceal a few surprises.
LP in Brighton 5 September 2018

That's right, registrations

It would be interesting if the pre-registered models  could be separated out. Clearly there are some bargains for those prepared to buy cars with the "old" 18-regitration and which have  not been tested to the latest protocol!

Reverend Rev 5 September 2018

LP in Brighton wrote:

LP in Brighton wrote:

It would be interesting if the pre-registered models  could be separated out. Clearly there are some bargains for those prepared to buy cars with the "old" 18-regitration and which have  not been tested to the latest protocol!

Captive sales (pre-reg) are recorded in the data, so every manufacturer (& anyone else with sight of the SMMT figures) will see how many of each rivals' reg's are down to WLTP & emissions regulations.

BMW, for example, have been spanking out a small number of high-powered petrol models for the last few months (crazy-priced 440i M, anyone?) in order to beat the deadline.

A large anomaly like this in a low-volume month is usually a sign of trouble ahead, at least for the least prepared.

xxxx 5 September 2018

Pre-Reg figures are known to rival manufacturers?

Reverend Rev wrote:

LP in Brighton wrote:

It would be interesting if the pre-registered models  could be separated out. Clearly there are some bargains for those prepared to buy cars with the "old" 18-regitration and which have  not been tested to the latest protocol!

Captive sales (pre-reg) are recorded in the data, so every manufacturer (& anyone else with sight of the SMMT figures) will see how many of each rivals' reg's are down to WLTP & the least prepared.

How do manufacturers know each other pre-reg figures using SMMT stats? Could you tell us how many FORD pre-recorded in August then?

Reverend Rev 5 September 2018

xxxx wrote:

xxxx wrote:

How do manufacturers know each other pre-reg figures using SMMT stats? Could you tell us how many FORD pre-recorded in August then?

Anyone with access to the SMMT stats could - they record & report captive sales as a subset of the whole pot of registrations, it then may take some educated guesswork to figure out how many pre-reg's each manufacturer has in the month.

xxxx 6 September 2018

Well

Reverend Rev wrote:

xxxx wrote:

How do manufacturers know each other pre-reg figures using SMMT stats? Could you tell us how many FORD pre-recorded in August then?

Anyone with access to the SMMT stats could - they record & report captive sales as a subset of the whole pot of registrations, it then may take some educated guesswork to figure out how many pre-reg's each manufacturer has in the month.

can you tell us Ford's pre-reg figure then