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Dealers optimistic ahead of plate change despite sales decline

NFDA 04/09/2020

“New car registrations showed a marginal decline in August, an expected result due to the strong performances in previous years driven by pre-registration ahead of new emissions regulations that came into force in September 2018 and 2019”, Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT new passenger car registration figures.

The UK new car market declined by -5.8% in August with 87,226 units registered. Year to date, 915,615 new cars have been registered, -39.7% less than last year. In August, sales of battery electric vehicles rose by 77.6%, diesel sales declined by -39.5% and petrol -14.7%. Demand from private consumers remained stable, down -1.7%, while fleet decreased by 5.5%.

Sue Robinson added, “Retailers remain optimistic, 86.5% of dealerships have now reopened and have been busy since. Most staff have come back to work and customer footfall levels, as well as online enquiries, are buoyant.

“We expect the movement away from public transport towards privately owned vehicles to continue to benefit the sales of new and used cars. Additionally, the increase in disposable income for a number of consumers who have not been on holiday and were able to save during the lockdown can fuel demand over the coming weeks.

“August is a small month in volume terms and it would be wrong to draw any major conclusions from these figures. Looking forward, NFDA expects a very strong September plate change month for new vehicle sales”.

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About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.