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New Car Registrations Decline in May

The UK’s new car market experienced a decline in May 2017, with demand falling 8.5%. The sale of new diesel cars also took a significant year-on-year dip, down 20%, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).

186,265 new cars were registered in May, with business purchases driving the market with a 20.1% year-on-year increase. This went some way towards offsetting the declines from private and fleet buyers. Despite a dip of -0.6% in overall registrations since January, more than 1.1 million new cars have been registered on UK roads so far in 2017. With the growth of connected technology coming to market this summer, there is optimism about the market remaining strong over the year.

The market for alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) bounced back in May, following a dip in the previous month, continuing the upward trend seen in the first quarter and taking a new record market share of 4.4%. More than 8,000 AFVs were registered in the month, representing an increase of 46.7%. Almost 50,000 new AFVs have joined Britain’s roads so far this year.

Business and fleet sectors have driven demand so far in 2017, up 5.3% and 2.4% respectively to offset a decline of -4.2% from private buyers. However, more than half a million new cars have been registered by private buyers since the start of the year.

SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes attributed the decline to the pull-forward to March resulting from Vehicle Excise Duty reform, as well as the general election, which is likely to have affected purchasing patterns.