The UK car market grew by 3.3 per cent in August, which was significantly more than in July.
Strong fleet demand drove the result in a month that is traditionally one of the quietest of the year in showrooms as buyers hold off for the registration plate change on 1st September.
According to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) private registrations actually fell by 0.2 per cent, but were more than offset by the fleet sector that saw demand soar 7.7 per cent.
In total 81,640 new cars were registered in the month, of which 43,267 were in the fleet market, the SMMT saying that the sector was buoyed by attractive finance deals and discounts.
Year to date the overall registrations figure has topped 1.68 million – an increase of 2.8 per cent compared to 2015.
Petrol-fuelled cars have edged ahead of diesel in the popularity stakes, at 49.7 and 47.3 per cent of the market respectively.
Alternatively-fuelled cars, which includes electric vehicles, continue to grow in popularity – 2,508 were registered in August, compared to 1,918 in the same month last year. So far in 2016 53,902 such vehicles have been registered accounting for 3.1 per cent of the market.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes welcomes even modest growth in what is traditionally one of the quietest months, and repeats his post-Brexit vote call for the Government to keep the market strong.
“With showrooms full of exciting models featuring the very latest technology and a raft of affordable finance options, it still makes economic sense to consider buying a new car,” Hawes says.
“The key to maintaining this strong market is consumer confidence for which we look to government to deliver the conditions for economic growth,” he adds.
Meanwhile the new car top 10 continues to have a familiar look about it, the Ford Fiesta dominating as it has done for several years. In August registrations of the Ford supermini were almost twice those of its nearest rival, its own big brother the Ford Focus, as 4,547 and 2,519 respectively.
The Vauxhall Corsa and Vauxhall Astra both drop a place to third and fourth, leapfrogged by the Focus.