• September 2013 car sales up 12.1% y-o-y 
  • 63-plate boosts manufacturer deals/activity aimed at private buyers
  • Private registrations have risen 16.7% over year-to-date, helping overall market rise 10.8%
  • SMMT forecasts UK car market to hit 2.2m units in 2013, +8%

The UK car market continued its positive growth trend in September with monthly car sales up by a healthy 12.1% on last year, to reach 403,136 units.

Another strong month for car sales in the UK contrasts with depressed car markets in much of continental Europe. Analysts and industry observers put the UK's positive car market this year down to a mixture of factors including a relatively strong economy and private retail buyers being attracted to good deals on model changeovers that are also linked in to finance plans. 

September is a big month in the UK car market, with a registration plate change taking place. Manufacturer activity appears to have helped boost private retails sales which were 17.1% ahead of last year.

“The September new car registrations figure was the highest monthly total since March 2008. With over 400,000 new cars registered for the first time in more than five years, the UK market is reflecting growing economic confidence,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. 

“Robust private demand has played a major role in this growth with customers attracted by exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient new models that offer savings in the cost of ownership. This is the 19th consecutive month of steady growth and, with fleet and business demand still to reach pre-recession levels, we believe the performance to be sustainable. The latest 63-plate should deliver positive results into next year.”

The SMMT forecasts that car sales in the UK this year will be around 2.2m units, a result that would be around 8% up on 2012's total.

Analysts also welcomed the latest data on the UK car market and the continued recovery that has taken the UK car market close to where it was before the recession.

David Raistrick, UK Automotive Leader at Deloitte, welcomed the UK market growth in September. "Three quarters of the way through the year, the UK market is now firmly established as the second largest in Europe with only Germany reporting greater levels of new car sales," he said. However, he added a note of caution on the scale of the deals being done in Britain to drive showroom traffic. "There remains the threat that residual values may be undermined as more product is directed into the UK marketplace," he said.

Derek McAllan, Head of Automotive Retail KPMG, said that rising house prices might also be a factor in higher car sales. “The UK market powers onwards and upwards driven by improving  economic conditions and rising house prices feeding consumer confidence and particularly strong  private demand," he said. "This will likely continue into 2014 and maybe beyond. Having fallen by over 20% during the recession, the UK new car market is in touching distance of pre-recession levels.”

See also: Tim Zimmerman, Peugeot UK, on the UK car market 

Below video clip: Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, comments on the UK September car market

Show the press release

Super September sees new car registrations roar ahead

  • 63-plate boost helps September market rise 12.1% to hit 403,136 registrations.
  • September 2013 is best performing month since March 2008 (highest volume in 66 months).
  • Private registrations have risen 16.7% over year-to-date, helping overall market rise 10.8%.
  • More than 1 in 7 new cars registered in the month is UK-built.
  • Average 2013 new car CO2 emissions at 128.6g/km; average fuel economy around 55mpg.

 
“The September new car registrations figure was the highest monthly total since March 2008. With over 400,000 new cars registered for the first time in more than five years, the UK market is reflecting growing economic confidence,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “Robust private demand has played a major role in this growth with customers attracted by exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient new models that offer savings in the cost of ownership. This is the 19th consecutive month of steady growth and, with fleet and business demand still to reach pre-recession levels, we believe the performance to be sustainable. The latest 63-plate should deliver positive results into next year.”

September Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
               
2013 403,136 192,816 203,933 6,387 208,844 170,569 23,723
2012 359,612 174,303 180,609 4,700 177,169 161,863 20,580
% change 12.1% 10.6% 12.9% 35.9% 17.9% 5.4% 15.3%
Mkt share '13   47.8% 50.6% 1.6% 51.8% 42.3% 5.9%
Mkt share '12   48.5% 50.2% 1.3% 49.3% 45.0% 5.7%
               
Year-to-date Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
               
2013 1,794,924 878,752 891,000 25,172 869,421 842,274 83,229
2012 1,620,609 817,436 781,113 22,060 744,946 803,464 72,199
% change 10.8% 7.5% 14.1% 14.1% 16.7% 4.8% 15.3%
Mkt share '13   49.0% 49.6% 1.4% 48.4% 46.9% 4.6%
Mkt share '12   50.4% 48.2% 1.4% 46.0% 49.6% 4.5%
               
Best sellers September          Year-to-date
               
  1 Fiesta 20,629   1 Fiesta 96,047
  2 Corsa 14,464   2 Focus 71,424
  3 Focus 14,295   3 Corsa 67,748
  4 Golf 12,265   4 Astra 53,338
  5 Astra 11,014   5 Golf 51,795
  6 1 Series 10,084   6 Qashqai 41,070
  7 3 Series 8,309   7 3 Series 34,484
  8 208 7,953   8 1 Series 34,448
  9 Qashqai 7,771   9 Polo 34,302
  10 500 7,422   10 208 32,222

 

  • Recent recovery in new car market supported by strong growth in private sector and also further gains by fleet/business market.
  • Private registrations rose around 17% in both the month and year-to-date. Additionally, rolling annual registrations are back to 2007 levels.
  • Growth reflects buyers returning to market after period of hold-off, with latest vehicles and strong finance packages fuelling demand. New models offer not only the latest designs and in-car technology but also enhanced fuel efficiency, which helps to minimise running costs.
  • Fleet and business volumes have shown a steady upward path since mid-2009.

Original source: SMMT