Press release

SMMT new car registrations | July 2019

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

While the figures show a 4.1% drop, these numbers don’t give a real representation of the market. The best way to describe it is, it’s like a calm swan on the surface but actually there’s been a furious amount of peddling by retailers and manufacturers just to get us here.

For one, the Real-world Driving Emissions (RDE) test deadline is in September which means vehicles that exceed emissions under the new rules can’t be sold as new cars after September. To help alleviate this, there has almost certainly been a high volume of stock which has been self-registered by retailers – and not actually sold to consumers. Although self-registrations are common practice to achieve retailer targets, dampened demand and these added stock pressures have made the task of reaching those targets even more of a battle than normal.

Brexit has a part to play too. The falling value of the pound either increases the imported prices of cars or directly reduces the profitability of around nine in 10 cars sold in the UK. So while retailers and manufacturers try to entice consumers with very strong offers, particularly to push out older stocks, these sales are increasing costly for them. Judging by the volatility of recent sales numbers, with some brands faring well but several others now well behind prior year, it’s clear that manufacturers face a decision about how sustainable such sales “push” can be in the longer term.

What now seems like a blip in AFV sales in June, the industry’s investment in electric vehicles is starting to reap the rewards now. While the availability and delivery lead times of some EVs is far from ideal on certain models, consumers’ appetite for these cars is high and registration figures are rising. However, we can’t rest on our laurels and must continue to incentivise and push these vehicles so that we can reach the ‘Road to Zero’ on time.

It’s clearly not all doom and gloom for the industry though. Despite the challenges thrown at UK car buyers, they remain resilient and still as keen to regularly renew their cars. It’s precisely this type of accelerated renewal of the car parc towards cleaner engines which is crucial to our chances of significantly improving air quality. More broadly, we know that overall consumer appetite remains strong, with 141 million searches taking place across our site last month alone, which compares to 134 million last year. Consumers in the UK are still looking for cars but they are getting savvier and looking for the best deal, particularly in this time of economic uncertainty.

With forecourts in England and Wales set to open next week, our Data & Insight Director @therickw shares our latest audience insights revealing how we are seeing buyer behaviour change as lockdown measures ease. https://t.co/yIMnXbLtn0
Performance Rating helps you quickly understand how well your adverts are performing vs competing adverts and know whether your adverts are winning buyers’ attention. Plus we’ve improved how you can track performance improvements over time. https://t.co/4IhSUpEV81
Following 4 months of price growth slowing, due to the record levels of demand in the market, last month not only saw the 12th consecutive month of price growth but also the first monthly increase in the rate of growth since October 2020. https://t.co/aQQ27H6QOl
A reminder from @stuart_trader to login to Portal to let us know if you offer admin fees. 92% of retailers already have. https://t.co/TkUEpnyx5p
When we look at vehicle pricing by age bands we can see strong growth for all vehicles, with those vehicles in the 5-10 year old and 10-15 year old age bands seeing the strongest like-for-like price growth. https://t.co/0PvxqEjLvZ
Our Data & Insight Director @therickw returns for his ever popular audience update, revealing that visits to our marketplace are up by 89.4% compared to the same period in 2020 and up by 27.5% when compared to the same period in 2019. #RichWalkerfanclub https://t.co/NR8mywkxCE
Just 15 minutes until today's webinar. You can still register to watch live or stay tuned right here for the highlights > https://t.co/Foqq4rVl2N https://t.co/my9knVy7eL
For the first time since August, new car registration numbers grow with the @SMMT reporting a welcome year-on-year growth in registrations of 11.5% in March. https://t.co/WAPeT02wou
As forecourts reopen, we look at reasons to be optimistic for April and share some practical advice for retailers looking to keep up with the industry as it moves forward beyond the pandemic. https://t.co/BwGEsCm9Kj
Register for next week's webinar where @Lusky91 of Luscombe's Leeds will reveal how they have advanced their digital retailing during lockdown and how they’re going to use these learnings to make more efficient sales in future > https://t.co/Foqq4rVl2N https://t.co/7opxnTlSdV

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