The UK new car market recorded its 42nd consecutive month of growth in August, albeit in one of the year’s quietest months, with a 9.6% rise, SMMT data shows.
The 9.6% year-on-year uplift in new car registrations brought the month's market to a 79,060 unit total, and took year-to-date growth to a 6.7%.
The SMMT said gains were made across all sectors and all fuel types, with registrations in the private, business and fleet markets up 7.2%, 11.8% and 12.1% respectively.
The data shows there were 2,496 more private registrations than in August 2014, and 4,238 more fleet registrations. Business registrations were 163 units up.
The market for alternatively-fuelled vehicles, meanwhile, grew 52.3% year on year, maintaining a steady 2.4% share of the overall market.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "August’s strong performance has again been driven by attractive finance deals and a diverse range of technologically advanced models.
"Britain’s budget-conscious buyers are taking advantage of low regular monthly payments that provide certainty and affordability. With September's new 65-plate now in full swing, we expect UK showrooms to be as busy as ever.”
The top 10 best-sellers in the month were the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo, Audi A3, Vauxhall Mokka, Vauxhall Astra, BMW 3 Series and the Ford Kuga.
David Raistrick, UK manufacturing leader at Deloitte said August registrations have now exceeded the levels achieved in 2007, and are of a level This level has not been reached in the intervening years, even with the assistance of the Government scrappage scheme in 2009.
“Turning to the September numbers, which will include the new 65 number plate registrations, 2014 showed a phenomenal 425,000 vehicles registered. With such a strong August, manufacturers and retailers will be anticipating good sales figures in September. Expectations are high that the number of deals on offer will positively influence the retail market. However, with signs of growth slowing in both the service and manufacturing sectors, last year’s September numbers will be a hard target to beat.
“With a flat European and global new car market, manufacturers will be keen to ensure that the September new plate opportunity is maximised. At the current rate of growth being achieved, full year sales look on track to reach between 2.55 and 2.6 million. That’s even if there is a quieter last quarter to the year.”
Richard Jones, managing director of Black Horse, said August's increase in new car sales continues the success story of the UK automotive industry.
"We are also likely to see more competition between sales of new and used cars as both manufacturers and dealers work hard to retain their competitive edge and attract new customers through the door," he added.
NFDA director Sue Robinson said: “August is traditionally a small market as buyers wait for the plate change on 1 September before purchasing a new vehicle. Therefore, after such a positive increase in sales during August, we anticipate that sales of the new 65-plate to do very well.”