Demand drives up car sales in July

Published:  05 August, 2020

The trend towards lower car sales resulting from COVID-19 lockdown restrictions seemed to go into reverse during July, with UK new car registations zooming up 11.3%, according to the latest figures from the SMMT.

174,887 cars were registered During the month. Garages had seen their franchise dealer neighbours shut up shop entirely during lockdown. Many began reopening in June, with July being their first full month of trading since February.  

Despite the increase,  overall registrations for this year are still down by 41.9% or 598,054 units year-to-date,  and the SMMT’s full year outlook is for a 30% decline in registrations.   Public appetite for zero and ultra low emission cars remains stable, with plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles taking a  9.0% share of registrations for July, compared with 9.5% last month and up from 3.1% for 2019 overall.  

Commenting on the figures, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “July’s figures are positive, with a boost from demand pent up from earlier in the year and some attractive offers meaning there are some very good deals to be had. We must be cautious, however, as showrooms have only just fully reopened nationwide and there is still much uncertainty about the future.

 “By the end of September we should have a clearer picture of whether or not this is a long-term trend. Although this month’s figures provide hope, the market remains fragile in the face of possible future spikes and localised lockdowns as well as, sadly, probable job losses across the economy. The next few weeks will be crucial in showing whether or not we are on the road to recovery.”

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