New car registrations better than expected in robust September market

  • Important plate change month sees new car registrations grow 8.2% to 359,612 units, exceeding expectations by more than 26,000 cars.
  • The market has increased 4.3% to 1,620,609 units in the first three quarters of 2012, up 67,515 units.
  • Since this time last year, the new car market has enjoyed quarter-on-quarter growth vs the previous year, culminating in a 7.5% gain in Q3 (the best non-scrappage impacted quarterly growth since 2001).
  • For the year-to-date, the average new car emitted 133.4g/km of CO2, down 3.4% on the 138.7g/km from the same period in 2011.

“The important September plate change market outperformed expectations with new car registrations increasing more than 8% on last year to 359,612 units,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “Although the economic outlook remains challenging, we are starting to see a tentative return of consumer confidence as motorists explore new products and the latest fuel-efficient technologies.”

Click through to download the full September 2012 new car registrations news release and data tables.

September 2012 new car registrations data

September Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
2012 359,612 174,303 180,609 4,700 177,242 161,851 20,519
2011 332,476 160,449 167,220 4,807 155,144 156,634 20,698
% change 8.2% 8.6% 8.0% -2.2% 14.2% 3.3% -0.9%
Mkt share ’12 48.5% 50.2% 1.3% 49.3% 45.0% 5.7%
Mkt share ’11 48.3% 50.3% 1.4% 46.7% 47.1% 6.2%
Year-to-date Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
2012 1,620,609 817,436 781,113 22,060 745,018 803,458 72,133
2011 1,553,094 774,377 758,851 19,866 668,490 802,928 81,676
% change 4.3% 5.6% 2.9% 11.0% 11.4% 0.1% -11.7%
Mkt share ’12 50.4% 48.2% 1.4% 46.0% 49.6% 4.5%
Mkt share ’11 49.9% 48.9% 1.3% 43.0% 51.7% 5.3%

September 2012 and YTD best sellers

Best sellers September Year-to-date
1 Fiesta 18,651 1 Fiesta 88,747
2 Corsa 17,089 2 Corsa 72,475
3 Focus 13,837 3 Focus 64,521
4 Astra 9,864 4 Golf 50,142
5 Golf 9,270 5 Astra 47,125
6 C-Class 7,948 6 Qashqai 35,865
7 3 Series 7,726 7 3 Series 34,340
8 Qashqai 7,471 8 Polo 33,987
9 Polo 7,291 9 C-Class 29,772
10 208 6,741 10 500 26,480

September market betters expectations, up more than 26,000 units on forecast and 27,000 on a year ago

  • There were 359,612 ’62′-plate cars registered in September, an 8.2% rise on a year ago. September is the second busiest month for new car registrations representing around 18% of the annual market, second only to March – which recorded 372,835 units.
  • During January-September the market increased 4.3% to 1,620,609 units. Registrations in Q3 rose 7.5%, increasing the rate of growth seen in Q1 (0.9%) and Q2 (4.8%). This represents the best, non-scrappage impacted, quarterly growth since 2001. However the market remains well below pre-recession levels – in 2007 1.94 million cars were registered in the first nine months of the year.
  • New car registrations have grown every month in 2012 bar one, and September volumes were 26,112 units or 7.8% above SMMT’s forecast for the month.
  • The growth is likely to be market specific, given wider economic concerns, boosted by attractive offers and enticing new models that offer significant fuel efficiency gains to UK motorists.
  • Registrations of small and dual purpose cars saw the biggest rises in the month, but almost all segments saw growth.
  • The Ford Fiesta was the best selling new car in September and also for the year-to-date.
  • Towards the end of October, SMMT is due to revise its full year forecast, currently at 1.97 million units as set in July.

New car registrations

Find monthly new car registration data and in-depth analysis here.

New car registrations