Press release

New car registrations 2018 | Auto Trader's view

Auto Trader's response to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' (SMMT) 2018 new car registrations and the health of the market

Despite what’s been a year of unprecedented challenges for the industry, 2018 closed in relatively good health. And whilst the same issues will still be felt during the months ahead, 2019 holds some  significant bright spots for retailers, manufacturers and consumers alike” said Ian Plummer, Auto Trader director.

“Brexit anxieties cast a long shadow last year and will continue to do so. A ‘no deal’ will likely impact new car sales as poor exchange rates and potential tariffs could force brands to pass on the cost to consumers. However, a smooth Brexit resulting in stable exchange rates and trade agreements, would signal to manufacturers that the UK remains a positive growth market with good profit opportunities, ensuring both a healthy pipeline of new stock and some great deals for consumers.

“Due to March’s highly desirable plate change, the first three months of the year represent almost a third of the industry’s total annual sales and are therefore key to a successful year for any brand or retailer. However, with Brexit looming, brands will be facing even greater pressure to hit the ground running in 2019 to offset any potential shortfall following the UK’s withdrawal of the EU. Coupled with the need to make up for the loss of sales following the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP) in September, there should be some great bargains for car buyers over the coming weeks.

Over the last 12 months we’ve seen some trends emerge which are set to accelerate in 2019, not least the growing consumer appetite for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) which has come largely at the expense of diesels. Mirroring their actual sales growth in the new car market, we saw AFVs reach a record seven percent of all fuel related searches on our marketplace in December. Similarly, the average price of a used AFV climbed to £20,828 in November, the highest rate recorded. 

We can expect this popularity to surge this year as a truly exciting array of second-generation electric vehicles hit the market in the coming months. Along with the continued trend towards crossovers and SUVs, which have been driving both the new and used car markets in 2018, they’ll provide brands with a much welcomed opportunity to offset last year’s sales deficits.

What’s more, as more consumers move away from traditional ownership to usership models, the appetite for finance will remain exceptionally strong in 2019. PCPs have fuelled market growth over the past years with 9 in 10 new cars sold now on finance. But leasing and subscription models are beginning to open up the market even more and have the potential to unlock further growth as they make accessing a car, including expensive new electric vehicles, an easier and more financially attractive option to a wider demographic of consumers.

“Looking at the coming year as a whole, we anticipate that the market will remain in relatively good health. However, as a result of the industry having to manage similar headwinds to last year, we can expect the market to decline at a very similar rate.”

Thanks to everyone that played #ATFestive today. In case you weren't sure of the answer, here it is... We'll announce the winner on Monday along with the next question. Have a great weekend 🎅 https://t.co/sLZI6mTlKr
Day five of the #ATFestive giveaway. If you work in the UK automotive industry and fancy winning a £50 Amazon voucher for you or your team, just answer this question....you shouldn't have too far to go to find the answer 😉Good luck! 🎄🎄 https://t.co/wKLWluYym9
According to data from the Auto Trader Fastest Selling Index the @renault_uk Zoe was the UK's fastest selling used car in December AND 2019 as a whole. It marks the first time a pure #electricvehicle has taken the annual top spot. Read more here: https://t.co/UnmbW8lHEz https://t.co/XBRj8E9EsW
Thank you to everyone who's been playing #ATFestive this week. Yesterday's winner, who answered correctly that the @PeugeotUK 3008 was the Auto Trader New Car of the Year 2019 is....@chevroncars 🥳 Well done guys. Stay tuned for today's question https://t.co/elccev0yz3
And that's it for day four of #ATFestive. Here's the answer - it is of course the brilliant @PeugeotUK 3008. Thank you to everyone who played today. We'll reveal the winner tomorrow along with question 5 🎄 https://t.co/TcZCTDL5Xh
Day four of #ATFestive and your chance to scoop a £50 Amazon voucher for you or your team. If you work in the UK automotive industry, all you need to do is answer today's question by 5pm this evening. Good luck! 🎁🎁 https://t.co/PJiYCT6MrL
Congratulations to the team at @RobinLuscombe ...you've won yesterday's #ATFestive giveaway and a £50 Amazon voucher 🥳 Stay tuned for today's question 🎅 https://t.co/OPcrvnLtng
And that's it for another day of #ATFestive - here is the answer. Did you get it right? Thanks so much to everyone that's playing along. We'll be revealing the winner tomorrow, along with question 4. Good luck! 🎄🎁 https://t.co/sOnAmMEF1x
Day three of #ATFestive. If you work in the UK automotive industry then here's your chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher. Just answer the question below by 5pm. Good luck 🎄 https://t.co/TyJ26ehSDe
Congratulations to the team at @RMI_NFDA for answering yesterday's #ATFestive question correctly. A £50 Amazon voucher is on its way! Stay tuned for today's question 🎅🎁 https://t.co/n8Qp2Tla2a

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