Expert Blog

New car sales 2017: Fleets buck the economic gloom

20170706_New car sales 2017: Fleets buck the economic gloom

Economic uncertainty, brought on by Brexit and a Hung Parliament, has seen new car registrations dip for the first time in five years, but fleets continue to grow.

New figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveal that 2,673,961 cars were registered in the year to June – down 0.1% on the 2,677,250 registered in the previous 12 months. As the graph below shows, this was mainly due to a decline in private car registrations, which fell be 3.7%. Registrations for fleets, on the other hand, grew by 3.1%, to 1,391,158.

This means that fleets represented 52.0% of all new car registrations in the last 12 months – up from 50.4% a year ago.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are continuing to surge in popularity, as new and better models go on sale, supported by government incentives such as the plug-in car grant.

Annual registrations of all alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) have surpassed 100,000 for the first time, hitting 101,562 in the year to June. That represents a 25.6% increase on the previous 12 months. Most of these new AFVs (60.9%) are hybrids, while 26.5% are plug-in hybrids and 12.5% are pure battery electric vehicles. (Please see our guide for an explanation of the different types of AFVs.)

Meanwhile, as our second graph shows, diesel registrations have begun to drop, with concerns about air pollution mounting. 5.7% fewer were registered in the year to June than in the previous 12 months, and diesel’s market share dropped to 45.6% – its lowest since 2010.

This month’s headline figures might not be the record-breakers we’ve become used to reporting in recent years, but beneath the surface lie some very welcome trends: the growth of fleets and the rise of low-emission AFVs. Even in challenging economic circumstances, the car and fleet industries continue to deliver.

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