LONDON -- New-car registrations in the UK rose 1.6 percent in September to hit a new monthly record. Strong demand from business buyers offset a fall in sales to individual customers for the sixth month in a row.
Registrations hit 469,696 units last month, the SMMT industry body said today, suggesting the Brexit vote has yet to hurt Europe's second-biggest car market after Germany, although many purchases are made months in advance so any effect may take time to be felt.
"The ability of the market to maintain this record level of demand will depend on the ability of government to overcome political uncertainty and safeguard the conditions that underpin consumer appetite," SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said.
September, one of two months each year when new license plates are issued, is a key month for the industry and accounts for nearly 20 percent of total annual sales.
Market leader Ford Motor saw its monthly sales fall by 11 percent while No.2 Vauxhall's volume declined by 4.9 percent. Volkswagen Group had mixed fortunes. VW brand sales were down 14 percent, Seat's volume dropped 16 percent but Skoda sales were up 10 percent and Audi sales gained 9.4 percent. A VW spokesman said VW brand's market share performance was comparable to that of other large volume brands. Private sales remain strong and VW brand kept its third position overall in the UK new-car market, the spokesman said.
• Download Excel file, above right, for UK sales.
In the first nine months, registrations were up by 2.6 percent at 2.15 million units.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report