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Private demand slackens as registrations reach 11-month record

Fleet sales accounted for more than half the market as new car registrations reached a record total of 2.51 million by the end of November, SMMT figures reveal.

The number of private buyers fell by 1.2% during the month, but fleet continued to make up the shortfall as the UK new car market rose by 2.9% in November, with 184,101 vehicles registered on UK roads.

Last month private registrations slumped by 2.6%, with fleet taking up some of the slack with a 2.2% rise.

SMMT chief executive was upbeat about November’s results, however, which saw alternative-fuelled vehicle sales rise by 25.1% to 6,663 units, representing 3.6% of the market – the highest ever achieved.

Petrol registrations, meanwhile, grew 7.9% to 88,541 units, while diesels just edged ahead on market share with 88,897 vehicles registered, a fall of -2.9%, the SMMT reported.

Hawes said: “Our industry continues to make vehicles that are ever safer, more refined, more efficient and more enjoyable to drive – and the latest advanced technology and cutting-edge designs are continuing to attract buyers into showrooms.

“It's encouraging to see that alternatively fuelled vehicles, although still a small proportion of the market, have seen strong growth this month achieving a record market share.

“Long-term government support and incentives are essential if these vehicles are to command a larger market share in the future.”

The manufacturers making the biggest year-on-year gains during November were:

  • Infiniti +169.4%
  • Jaguar +35.8%
  • Seat +35.3%

The biggest fallers during November were:

  • Dacia, with a year-on-year fall of -42.4%
  • Vauxhall -23.7%
  • Land Rover -19.2%

Superminis continued to be the most popular body style – making up more than a quarter (29.7%) of all cars registered in November, followed by small family cars and SUVs.

Executive and city cars enjoyed the biggest growth, up 27.7% and 25% respectively.

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  • Mike - 06/12/2016 14:04

    Is this due to the rise in PCH and it being recorded as a fleet registration rather than a private reg?

  • Nick Adams - 07/12/2016 06:58

    I'd love to know what actual growth of PCH is. It seems like many manufacturers and dealers are advertising PCH deals now, but I have a feeling this is only because the t&cs on advertising regs are less onerous than a PCP from an FCA point of view.

  • GX87 - 08/01/2017 18:23

    This headline may be misleading as all pre-registered vehicles are classified as fleet by the SMMT, when, in fact a very high proportion are sold to retail customers on finance. So perhaps fleet demand was not up, and retail demand did not fall.