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March 6, 2017

UK new car market ‘steady’ in February

UK new car sales remained steady in February, dipping 0.3%, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

UK new car sales remained steady in February, dipping 0.3%, according to data from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In a traditionally quiet month, ahead of the 1 March ‘plate change’, 83,115 vehicles were registered. Fleet sales dominated, with 45,699 cars registered, up 3.3%, while private demand fell 4.4% to 36,018 units and business registrations declined 5.3% to 1,398.

Buyers registered a record 3,308 alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) in February, a 48.9% lift on 2016, taking a 4% market share. This was partly driven by new models going on sale, a result of major investments by manufacturers into new technology. Petrol registrations experienced an increase – 5.8% to 42,826 units – while demand for diesel cars fell 9.2% year on year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “February is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year and a steady performance was expected following another year of record growth in 2016. We expect to see the market bounce back in March as buyers take advantage of the new ’17’ plate, as well as the last chance to buy a car eligible for current lower VED [tax] rates before they change on 1 April.”

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