Press release

SMMT New Car Registrations | August 2019

Auto Trader's Commercial Director, Ian Plummer, provides his view on the latest new car registrations from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director at Auto Trader, said:

“Unsurprisingly the market is down, despite retailers and manufacturers best efforts as they sought to beat the new Real-world Driving Emissions (RDE) test deadline by registering large volumes of cars before the end of the month. This has effectively inflated sales. Although we shouldn’t be focused on August, more importantly it is about how the market fairs in September, a key plate change month. The market will have to continue to contend with the ongoing Brexit negotiations and as things heat up politically, uncertainty remains which is not helping business or consumer confidence - especially not helping to sway manufacturers to send more cars into the UK.”

“Although sales look encouraging in August, the longer term drive to accelerate alternative fuelled vehicle (AFV) sales is stalling, as heightened consumer demand is now outstripping supply. Almost certainly a symptom of Britain’s impending EU exit, while manufacturers are struggling to produce enough batteries and electric cars, and those that are rolling off production lines are destined for other, more profitable markets. If we continue to see an exchange rate at or around parity with the euro, the UK may even miss out on the best and newest EVs as manufacturers may make the decision to divert the vehicles to other markets where these cars are not only more profitable but also more certain to count for the imminent and very stringent fleet emissions targets that they need to comply with from next year. Many European markets are now leaving the UK in their wake: penetration is already high and growing faster than in the UK. In France and Germany new car sales of AFVs were up by 15% and 63% in the first quarter of 2019 and in the pioneering markets such as Norway and Holland AFV’s were up by 37% and 49%*.”

*https://www.acea.be/uploads/press_releases_files/20190508_PRPC_fuel_Q1_2019_FINAL.pdf

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