September’s 69-plate delivered ‘modest’ 1.3% sales growth, says SMMT

New car registrations rose just 1.3% as the key number plate change month of September saw the sales appeal of the new 69-plate struggle to overcome consumers’ “Brexit anxiety”.

Monthly registration’s data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that 343,255 new cars joined British roads last month but the modest year-on-year growth came in comparison with a period heavily disrupted by the introduction of WLTP and left this year’s registrations trailing 49,000 units behind same period in 2018.

September 2018 saw registrations plummet by 20.5% as a result of the new emissions legislations, with just 338,834 new cars entering the market.

The 1.86 million vehicles registered in the UK so far this year leaves the market 2.5% down year-to-date and marks the sector’s lowest performance since 2013, the SMMT said in a statement published today (September 4).

It added: “It is also in stark contrast to other major European markets, which this September rallied in double digits.”

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “September’s modest growth belies the ongoing downward trend we’ve seen over the past 30 months.

“We expected to see a more significant increase in September, similar to those seen in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, given the negative effect WLTP had on all European markets last year.

“Instead, consumer confidence is being undermined by political and economic uncertainty.”

He added: “We need to restore stability to the market which means avoiding a ‘no deal’ Brexit and, moreover, agreeing a future relationship with the EU that avoids tariffs and barriers that could increase prices and reduce buyer choice.”

The SMMT’s analysis of September’s new car registrations showed that volumes were driven by the fleet sector, which grew 8.6%.

Meanwhile, private demand remained stable, up 0.1%, while business registrations declined by 44.8%, it reported.

[Source: Automotive Management Online]