SMMT Report: August New Car Registrations Down -5.8%

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According to figures published by the SMMT (The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), new car registrations fell by -5.8% in August, compared to the same month in 2019.

This month saw just over 87,226 registered, a 5,374 reduction from 2019.

SMMT August car registrations

SMMT figures highlighted

  • Overall new car registrations remain down by -39.7% in the year to date following the coronavirus lockdown.
  • Fleet and business purchases significantly down – the former -5.5% and the latter -57.9% compared with 2019 figures.
  • Private car sales remain reasonably steady, down -1.7% (699 fewer registrations) from last year.
  • 110% increase in zero-emission capable cars amid a surge of new models produced by manufacturers.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said about the decline:

The decline is disappointing, following some brief optimism in July. However, given August is typically one the new car market’s quietest months, it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from these figures alone. With the all-important plate change month just around the corner, September is likely to provide a better barometer. As the nation takes steps to return to normality, protecting consumer confidence will be critical to driving a recovery.

Battery power becoming the norm

Despite overall sales of new cars being down, electric vehicles and hybrid models are booming. No doubt this is to do with the influx of new battery-powered contenders to the market, with 74% more registrations of new BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles), PHEVs (Plug-in Electric Vehicles) and HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles).

Not surprisingly, MEVs (Mild-hybrid Electric Vehicles) accounted for the biggest increase in new car sales for battery-powered cars. Registrations of new petrol and diesel mild-hybrid models increased by 421.9% – an increase of 4,910 units for petrol models and 1,612 for diesels.

Given that MHEVs are considered an entry point into the alternative fuel vehicle market (i.e. electric power merely assists the primary combustion unit, without the need to manually charge the battery), this trend is understandable. However, as understanding of full-electric cars increases alongside an improved charging infrastructure and reduction in EV prices, more people are likely to make the switch to electric.

August best-selling cars

  1. Ford Fiesta – 3,372 units
  2. Volkswagen Golf – 2,570 units
  3. Ford Focus – 2,391 units
  4. Ford Puma – 2,128 units
  5. Vauxhall Corsa – 2,081 units
  6. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 1,722 units
  7. Volkswagen Tiguan – 1,645 units
  8. Volkswagen Polo – 1,466 units
  9. Ford Kuga – 1,434 units
  10. Kia Niro – 1,417 units

2019-2020 best-selling cars

  1. Ford Fiesta – 29,891 units
  2. Ford Focus – 25,517 units
  3. Vauxhall Corsa – 25,182 units
  4. Volkswagen Golf – 24,395 units
  5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 19,370 units
  6. Nissan Qashqai – 18,736 units
  7. Mini Cooper – 16,528 units
  8. Volkswagen Polo – 14,512 units
  9. Volkswagen Tiguan – 14,467 units
  10. Toyota Yaris – 13,546 units

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