Cars Registrations SMMT News

New 64-plate drives September car registrations to decade high

06 October 2014 #Cars #Registrations #SMMT News
  • 425,861 new cars registered in the key month of September, a rise of 5.6% and the biggest September since 2004.
  • New ‘64’ numberplate boosts volumes, with September marking the 31st consecutive month of growth in the new car market.
  • Registrations for the year-to-date reach 1,958,196 – up 9.1% on January-September 2013.
  • September and March – the months of the plate change – together account for a third of a year’s registrations.
  • After March’s 18% surge, September’s more moderate growth indicates demand starting to level off.
  • Average new car registered in September achieves 59mpg (combined cycle), and CO2 emissions of 122.3 g/km.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “September’s strong performance underlined the continuing robustness of the UK new car market, particularly in the context of last September’s bumper volumes.

“Demand for the new 64-plate has been boosted by intensifying confidence in the UK economy, with consumers attracted by a wide range of exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient, new cars. In the months since March – which saw an 18% jump in registrations – the growth has shown signs of levelling off as the market starts to find its natural running rate.”

Growth levelling off: quarterly increases in new car registrations, Q1 2013 to date

Growth levelling off: quarterly increases in new car registrations, Q1 2013 to date

New car registration figures September 2014

Total new cars registered 2007 - 2013

New car registrations September 2014 - best sellers

September and March: the effect of the plate change

September and March: the effect of the plate change

  • The UK switched to a twice-yearly plate change 15 years ago, with the arrival of the T-plate in 1999. Previously, plate changes would occur once a year, in August.


  • Number plates now change in March and September, with consumer demand for the latest plate meaning that these months typically account for a third of the entire year’s registrations. From 2004 to 2013, March averaged just over 400,000 cars per year, with September slightly less at 380,000.


  • The average pre-recession registration volume for September and March combined (2004-2008) was 852,000, which reduced to 729,000 during the recession (2009-2013).



See SMMT’s special feature to take an in-depth look at the new car market, including the most popular five registration plates.


Click through to download the full September 2014 new car registrations news release and data table.

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