SMMT releases April's sales figures, with the 38th month of growth, it's not slowing down.

  • Spring showroom surge sees UK new car registrations rise 5.1% to 185,778 units.
  • Strongest April for a decade as fleets and private buyers buoyed by high levels of confidence.
  • SMMT calls on next government to support automotive sector and new vehicle technologies.
Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on the morning the UK heads to the polls underline a robust new car market, with registrations up for the 38thconsecutive month in April. Demand rose by 5.1% to 185,778 units – the month's best performance since 2005. Year-to-date registrations for 2015 are up 6.4% to 920,366.

April's strong performance, which comes after a record first quarter for the sector, tracks a 12-year high for consumer confidence1 and continues a pattern of growth in new car registrations around general elections that dates back to 1979. Demand in the period following 7 May is forecast to continue in line with this trend and as new products, attractive finance deals and low interest rates inspire consumers and businesses to give the new car market their vote of confidence.
All but three of the past nine general elections have coincided with a spike in new car demand in the three months immediately before and after polling day. Notable exceptions were during the recessions of 1992 and 2010, while the 2005 election period saw registrations dip as part of natural market readjustment after hitting peak volumes in 2002.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, "Today's figures highlight the current strength of consumer confidence, even at a time of such political uncertainty. We are confident that the UK’s new car market – so symbolic of economic mood – will continue to thrive, but long-term success will depend largely on economic and political stability in the months and years ahead. Whatever the outcome of today’s election, the next government must act quickly to uphold economic certainty and reassure consumers and markets."
Growth of UK new car registrations before and after General-Election-months2pic
AprilTotalDieselPetrolAFVPrivateFleetBusiness
        
2015185,77894,52686,2395,01385,98093,0956,703
2014176,82090,92082,9512,94983,72285,4477,651
% change5.1%4.0%4.0%70.0%2.7%9.0%-12.4%
Mkt share '15 50.9%46.4%2.7%46.3%50.1%3.6%
Mkt share '14 51.4%46.9%1.7%47.3%48.3%4.3%
        
Year-to-dateTotalDieselPetrolAFVPrivateFleetBusiness
        
2015920,366444,267450,30125,798437,531447,77335,062
2014864,942425,882423,32715,733431,390394,99238,560
% change6.4%4.3%6.4%64.0%1.4%13.4%-9.1%
Mkt share '15 48.3%48.9%2.8%47.5%48.7%3.8%
Mkt share '14 49.2%48.9%1.8%49.9%45.7%4.5%
        
 2008200920102011201220132014
Total cars2,131,7951,994,9992,030,8461,941,2532,044,6092,264,7372,476,435

Best sellersApril   Year-to-date
 1Fiesta10,294 1Fiesta50,098
 2Focus6,347 2Corsa34,051
 3Golf5,354 3Focus28,634
 4Corsa4,951 4Golf24,789
 5Qashqai4,697 5Qashqai23,383
 6Polo4,674 6Polo19,495
 7A33,981 7Astra18,622
 8Astra3,613 8A318,339
 9C Class3,351 9C Class17,326
 10Mini3,000 1050015,470
April new car registrations 1999-2015
pic
New car registrations, rolling year from April 2007 (pre-recession)
pic


1.    GfK UK Consumer Confidence Index, April 2015
2.    Data projected after April 2015
The attached tables show registration figures for Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in detail. Providing that SMMT is cited as the source of this information, the figures may be quoted for editorial use only. Substantial reproduction needs specific approval by SMMT. 

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