New car sales stabilise in July

Alternative fuel vehicles sales rise by 21 per cent year-on-year, while diesel registrations continue to drop

After a shaky first six months to the year for new car sales, the market has stabilised in July, with overall registrations totalling 163,898 – an increase of 1.2 per cent over July 2017.

Diesels continue to take a significant hit in sales. Though the government has acknowledged that new-tech diesel models still have relevance in its Road to Zero strategy – which sees an ambition to achieve a market share of 70 per cent for new cars emitting less than 70g/km of CO2 by 2030 – overall sales figures of 52,303 represent a 24.4 per cent drop compared to the same time last year. Petrol models, meanwhile, have increased from 83,965 in July 2017 to 100,861 in 2018.

• Best selling cars 2018

The trend move away from diesels has also contributed to the ever-increasing uptake of alternative fuel vehicles. A total of 10,734 were sold in July, compared to 8,871 last year. Plug-in hybrids saw the biggest increase, with registrations up 35.5 per cent, while regular hybrid sales improved by 17.5 per cent. The increase in demand for full EVs is still yet to fully hit its stride, with sales increasing by a more modest 2.4 per cent.

Small businesses remain cautious when it comes to new registrations: companies with fleets of fewer than 25 cars are buying at a rate 10.2 per cent lower than in July 2017. However, larger fleet sales have risen by 2.6 per cent, and private sales are up by 0.1 per cent.

Despite the July increase, the overall sales in 2018 to date are still down on last year. The first seven months of 2018 have seen a total of 1,477,892 new car registrations, which is a 5.5 per cent drop on the 1,563,808 of one year ago.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The feel-good factor from a sun and sport-packed July, combined with some fantastic deals on a raft of exciting new models, clearly helped keep showrooms relatively busy last month.

“It’s great to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this growth, and government’s acknowledgement of the vital role new-tech diesel will play in its Road to Zero strategy should help more even more motorists benefit from the latest, safest and low emission technology over the coming months.”

Check out the top ten cars sold in the UK in 2018…

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