The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) released figures today showing that the new car market in the UK remained stable last month after a turbulent start to the year.

Year-on-year demand grew 1.2% and a total of 163,898 new cars were registered in July. The SMMT said that demand from private buyers and large fleets was up 0.1% and 2.6% respectively. However, registrations from businesses with smaller fleets of 25 cars or fewer were down 10.2%.

New diesel registrations continued to fall, down -24.4% in July, while new petrol registrations grew 20.1%. Alternatively fueled vehicles had a good month, with demand up 21%. Hybrids and plug-ins now have a record market share of 6.5%. Plug-in hybrids did particularly well, with registrations growing 17.5%.

Overall, the market is down -5.5% so far this year, which is ‘broadly in line with expectations’. Nearly 1.5 million new cars have been registered in the UK in the first seven months of the year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The feel-good factor from a sun and sport-packed July, combined with some fantastic deals on a raft of exciting new models, clearly helped keep showrooms relatively busy last month.”

He added: “It’s great to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this growth, and the government’s acknowledgement of the vital role new-tech diesel will play in its Road to Zero strategy should help even more motorists benefit from the latest, safest and low emission technology over the coming months.”

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