September, like March, is always a bumper month for car registrations. It’s when people rush to their local dealerships to procure vehicles with the latest number plates. In fact, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ latest figures, some 469,696 cars bearing the new 66-plates were registered this September. This isn’t just 1.6 higher than last September’s total – which it is – it’s also the highest September total on record.
This caps what has been, since we last reported the numbers, a buoyant third quarter for the new car market. In July, there were 178,523 registrations, which is 0.1 per cent higher than last July’s total. In August, there were 81,640, which is 3.3 per cent higher than last August’s total. And so, even with the economic uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote, the British public are still buying cars by the bucketload.
Our graph, below, puts these heartening numbers in a wider context. It shows the rolling annual total – the number of cars registered in the year to this September; the number of cars registered in the year to this August; and so on – for the past five years. You’ll notice that the current total is the highest on record. 2,687,112 cars were registered in the year to this September.
The graph also breaks the numbers down according to the type of car. There’s been growth across the board. The number of diesel vehicles registered in the year to this September was 2.1 per cent higher than in the year to last September. The number of petrol vehicles was 2.3 per cent higher. But it’s the alternatively-fuelled vehicles that really impress: they have gone up by a full 23.0 per cent.
This continues the happy trend that we observed in the last quarter. AFVs may still be the smallest part of the new car market, but they’re by far the fastest growing part of it – to the point that they now have the largest market share that they’ve ever had. 3.2 per cent of all the cars registered in the year to September were AFVs.
Not only are more cars being sold, but those cars are getting cleaner and cleaner. That should leave everyone smiling.