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June down but record 2016 for car sales

New car sales declined in June for only the second month in more than four years, but this was predicted

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New car sales declined in June, for only the second month in more than four years.

However the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), which compiles the figures, is indicating that the results are in line with expectations and pointing to a record first six months of 2016 for the market.

Referendum uncertainty may be a factor

Registrations of UK new cars were down 1%t in June, totalling 255,766. This reflects a slowdown in recent months and the SMMT believes it is too early to determine whether the June results were affected by the uncertainty caused by the European referendum.

The first six months of 2016 show an average growth of 3%, the total of 1,420,636 registrations between January and June a record. And SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes is calling upon the Government to ensure that the market continues to grow through the remainder of 2016.

Government needs to take action, says SMMT

“The first six months saw strong demand at record levels but the market undoubtedly cooled over the second quarter,” Hawes says.

“It’s important government takes every measure to restore business and economic confidence to avoid the market contracting in the coming months,” he adds.

The June new car market continued the trend of recent months, driven by fleet sales, which were up 4.5% neatly compensating for a 4.5% slide in private registrations.

Alternative-fuel demand continues to grow

Demand for alternative-fuelled vehicles, which includes electric cars, is continuing to accelerate – the market was up 17% in June with 8,311 vehicles registered, and year-to-date has climbed 21% to 46,014 vehicles.

Meanwhile the ‘new car top ten’ shows little change, with the Ford Fiesta leading the way on 11,357 registrations for June. The Vauxhall Corsa continued its recovery, climbing from fourth spot in May to its traditional second with 8,837 registrations, with the Ford Focus in third (6,833) followed by the Volkswagen Golf (6,775) and the Mini hatch (6,284).

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.