Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed UK new car registrations dropped for the first time in more than three and a half years as market growth levelled off in October 2015. 177,664 new cars were registered in the month, a dip of 1.1% on last year’s figure and following a record 43 consecutive months of growth. Year to date data showed the new car market is up 6.4% to 2,274,550 cars – the best YTS result on record.
Diesel and petrol market shares remained stable while the demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) continued to show positive growth. October AFV volumes were up by 13.8%, reaching 3% of the total market for the first time, as more consumers switched to an ever more diverse range of ultra low emission vehicles. The high value market segments saw the biggest gains with specialist sports and luxury saloon vehicle registrations growing 59.0% and 23.1% respectively.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The UK car market has gone through a period of unprecedented growth and, so far, 2015 has been a bumper year with the strongest performance since the recession. As expected, demand has now begun to level off but the sector is in a strong position, as low interest rates, consumer confidence and exciting new products combine to attract new car buyers. The current full-year growth forecast remains on track."
SMMT data showed Volkswagen – under siege over emissions testing and CO2 output – saw sales dip 9.84% to 13,970 in October though they were up 6.65% to 196,411 year to date. Market leader Ford was off 8.84% to 22,081 last month and up 1.2% to 290,409 YTD. GM's Vauxhall saw sales dip 16.39% to 15,891 in October and also slip 0.6% to 227,991 YTD. Premium brands including Audi, BMW and Porsche booked rises both last month and YTD.