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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 By Jimi Beckwith

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UK car registrations slowed last month, according to official industry statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Compared with last year, registrations for the year so far are up 2.8%, but the market grew by just 0.1% in July, the smallest recorded increase in many months.

Registrations of petrol cars stayed almost exactly the same; only 14 more petrol cars were registered in July 2016 than July 2015. Instead, the biggest change happened in the alternative fuel segment – this includes hybrids, electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered cars – which grew by almost a quarter compared with July 2015, to 5,380 registrations.

What should I do?

While the slow down has sparked some concern in the car industry, it's potentially good news for consumers.

With dealers finding it harder to hit their targets, it’s possible that you’ll be able to grab a better deal on a new car should you visit a showroom, so make sure you haggle on the price so you don’t end up paying over the odds.

Keep an eye on used prices, too; they’re unlikely to have changed just yet, but the slowed growth could suggest that people are turning to the second-hand market for their next car, rather than buying new. Should the UK car market start to decline, and registrations actually fall, the greater demand for used cars may drive prices upwards.

10. Mercedes C-Class

25,084 registrations

Read the full Mercedes C-Class review


9. Vauxhall Mokka

25,783 registrations

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8. Mini hatchback

26,533 registrations

Read the full Mini hatchback review

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