News

Slow down in UK car market good news for bargain hunters

The UK car market has been growing strongly throughout 2016, but new figures suggest sales slowed in July. Here's why that makes it an excellent time to buy a new car.

Words ByJimi Beckwith

Need a valuation?

Obtain a FREE used car valuation for any vehicle.

GB

3. Ford Focus

43,626 registrations

Read the full Ford Focus review


2. Vauxhall Corsa

47,962 registrations

Read the full Vauxhall Corsa review


1. Ford Fiesta

71,823 registrations

Read the full Ford Fiesta review

What are car registrations?

Car registrations differ from car sales, in that registrations account for every car that has had a registration plate applied to it. Not only are regular members of the car-buying public included in this, but fleet operators, public sector cars and business registrations, too.

Why has this slow-down happened?

It’s not entirely certain why after so many months of growth such a small increase has happened, but industry experts suggest that the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in June may have dented the public’s confidence, and put some consumers off buying new cars.

It’s also possible that after so many months of continuous growth, the market is reaching saturation point – there are only so many consumers who can afford to buy cars and continue the UK market’s growth.

The ongoing emissions scandal, also known as β€˜Dieselgate’ as well as subsequent scandals and motor industry controversies could also have undermined consumers’ trust in the automotive industry on the whole. The 1.1% decline in diesel sales in July 2016, compared with July 2015, suggests that this may be the case, although the fact that the car market is only now showing signs of slowing means that a consumer exodus from car showrooms is unlikely.

How am I affected?

Unless you work in motor manufacturing or sales, it’s unlikely to affect you directly, but the UK’s car market is one of the largest in Europe, making it a clear indicator of the country’s wealth, as well as consumer confidence.

You might feel a little more pressure to buy if a visit to a showroom, if anything, but the figures are nothing to lose sleep over.

What else do I need to know?

The alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) segment is the fastest growing area of the motor industry, and, although it makes up nowhere near as many registrations as petrol or diesel cars, its progress has only accelerated since the various scandals broke.

It’s becoming uncommon for a manufacturer to not have an AFV somewhere in its line-up, or at least coming soon, so it’s quite likely that AFV sales will eventually surpass petrol and diesel.

Which manufacturers are declining?

CitrΓΆen and Renault both had a disappointing month – their market shares declined by 21.56% and 31% repectively.

Ssangyong, Mitsubishi and Fiat also endured declines in their market share, all decreasing by a quarter.

Porsche’s market share dropped considerably in July, falling by 45%, although its success in previous months mean that so far in 2016, it’s only dropped 0.28% of its market share.

Which manufacturers are growing?

The largest increases in market share were enjoyed by small-volume brands, with Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Dacia, DS, Jeep and Suzuki all growing considerably in July 2016, compared with the same month last year.

Infiniti’s whopping growth of 191% was the largest of any car manufacturer, while Mercedes’ growth represented one of the largest market share increases, growing from 5.68% to 6.53% of total UK car registrations between July 2015 and July 2016. Land Rover’s growth – 1.15% of total registrations – was the largest in the industry.

Got a motoring question? Our experts are standing by to help, just tweet us your question using #askwhatcar

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals from What Car?, sign up to our weekly newsletter here

< Previous

Page 3 of 3