The SMMT now expects new car registrations to total 1.97 million units this year, representing a 1.6% rise on 2011’s 1.94 million unit market.
Registrations in July, at 143,884 units, were up 9.3% on a year ago, the fifth successive monthly increase and the strongest gain since the Scrappage-boosted increase of July 2010.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said that while the upward trend continued in July there would be a slight slowing down in the second half of the year.
‘International economic stability remains a concern for vehicle manufacturers and the UK market, but intense competition and new fuel efficient products are creating great opportunities for motorists,’ he said.
After the distortions from the Scrappage Incentive Scheme, a degree of pent-up demand and the availability of new products have helped lift new car volumes in 2012, according to the SMMT. The growth has come despite an unsettled economic backdrop, with disappointingGDPfigures and constrained consumer and business spending.
Registrations over the first seven months of 2012 have increased more than 40,000 units year-on-year or 3.5% to 1,201,564 units (2011: 1,161,272).
Registrations in July were led by a 26.4% rise in private sales to 63,941 (July 2011: 50,578) to take this year’s volumes to 540,232, 10.5% up on last year (488,774).
Fleet registrations fell 1.6% last month to 74,275 (July 2011: 75,503) to leave this year’s sales just 0.3% down on last year at 611,452 (2011: 613,319), while business sector sales surprisingly increased 2.1% last month to 5,668 (July 2011: 5,553), but segment registrations are 15.7% down year-on-year at 49,880 (2011: 59,197).
All fuel types showed increased volumes in July, with alternatively-fuelled registrations up 45.9% in the month to 2,097 cars (July 2011: 1,425) to take 2012 volumes to 16,705, up 10.5% on last year (14,451).
Demand for petrol cars – up 13.1% – was also boosted by strong growth in the mini segment, again reflective of new model activity. The mini segment grew 93.4% in July.
The Ford Fiesta was the best-selling model in July and over the first seven months of 2012 with Ford leading the manufacturers’ table in terms of both July volumes and year-to-date