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.

Discover what we are doing to keep #consumers engaged with our platformin order to help #cardealers build their #salespipeline in our latest blog post from our COO Catherine Faiers - https://t.co/t4Sv4m9YjB #cornonavirus #consumerbehaviour https://t.co/7LTGzvyJSN
Join us for an Auto Trader Insights webinar where we will be discussing the current trends we are seeing across the #automotive market as we continue to navigate our way through the #coronavirus outbreak. https://t.co/AxxdZtR7i0 https://t.co/uzTeeCtzHm
On yesterday's customer webinar we highlighted that whilst consumers might not be able to visit dealerships, a variety of metrics indicate there's still consumer demand. If you missed the session, which included @ASE_Global's @mikejonesase, catch up here https://t.co/7qLr0Tz3hT https://t.co/LBGALeheWT
We brought forward the launch of our new #marketintelligence tool, AT Market Insight, to ensure #cardealers can keep up with the changing market conditions in these turbulent times. Discover how you can use this new tool now in our latest blog post. https://t.co/50K8rBG2Xi https://t.co/Cc3rZFAk8f
30 minutes left until today's webinar! Register now to hear the latest advice on what options #cardealers have during #coronavirus. Even if you cant make it we will send you the recording https://t.co/vr0dwQTD3J https://t.co/VuIea3MFoK
Have you signed up to our next weekly webinar? We'll be talking through what options #cardealers have amidst the #coronavirus. Tune in tomorrow at 10am and if you can't make it, sign up and we will send you the recording. https://t.co/vr0dwQTD3J https://t.co/omXRjB386q
Last week our #Data & #Insight Director, @therickw joined our webinar to talk retailers through key market observations he had made. Well, we’ve invited him back to share another update to see if the story has changed. https://t.co/KcGC6O2nom https://t.co/AcvcSqSpo1
Great to see people coming up with innovative ways of keeping busy during #lockdown... https://t.co/sv7G0osaLd
Start the week off right with @MarcThornboroug's latest tips on practical things retailers can be doing now to help build that #salespipeline whilst #workingremotely https://t.co/NKxMkK5qbv https://t.co/xpYaTQbWfo
In next week's webinar, we'll be asking our expert panel 'What options do retailers have amidst COVID-19?' Discussions will include furlough for employees & funding for self-employed retailers. Submit your questions when you register: https://t.co/fifT2NvFOB https://t.co/u6YMY1HQB4

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