New September car registrations 2019 up by 1.3% from last year
When I was little I would delight in spotting
the first of the new registrations each August. Now of course the plate updates
are twice yearly but it is still good to see new ones each March and September.
Not only are they on shiny new models but their numbers help to inspire some
confidence that our economy might not be quite as troubled as the newspapers
would have us believe.
Even if you have already seen a few cars
boasting their 69 plates this year, it is still hard to ignore the current
political upheaval and the move towards cleaner vehicles. So what are the
trends and has the new plate change been enough to invigorate sales? The latest
figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) provide
The headline numbers
On the plus side, sales of new cars in September
2019 are up over the same period last year by 1.3% with 343,255 units sold last
month. This simple figure hides a downward trend year-on-year though, with an
overall drop of -2.5% against last year’s three quarter year position.
Within these headline numbers are some notable trends, showing significant shifts in vehicle choices when comparing 2019 against 2018.
• Diesel sales are down -20.3% against September last year (matching the -20.6% year-to-date comparison).
• Petrol sales are up 4.5% this September (2.6% year-to-date against 2018).
• Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are up an astonishing 236.4% compared to last September (122.1% year-to-date).
• Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are up 22.6% this September (but down year-to-date at -29.2%).
• Hybrids (HEVs) have stayed stable this September against last year rising just 0.6% although the three quarter year position is up 15.3% against last year.
• Mild petrol hybrids (MHEVs) have seen a significant rise of 91.9% in September (200.9% year-to-date).
• The largest change has been for diesel MHEVs with a 677.8% rise this September and 949.5% year-to-date.
While combined BEV and hybrid sales rises seem meteoric, it is worth noting that the total electric car sales comprises only 8.7% of January to September numbers. This sector has grown by over a quarter since the same nine month period last year.
Who is buying?
The other significant slicing of the numbers is by sales type.
• September’s private sales are steady at just 0.1% when compared against September last year (down -2.4% on respective year-to-date figures).
• Fleet sales are up 8.6% this September although steady at 0.1% change year-to-date.
• Business sales (making up just 2.6% of the total year-to-date figures) are down -37.4% January to September and -44.8% comparing this September to last.
So, it isn’t all doom and gloom
and overall sales are surprisingly steady
considering the governmental turmoil and general uncertainty around Brexit. The
biggest trends are the shift from diesel to electric and from business to fleet
Many manufacturers are
lining-up new models and those models on the run-out are being offered with
enticing financial incentives too. Perhaps most surprising of all is Vauxhall’s
Corsa hitting top sales spot in September despite the all-new model being shown
to the public at Frankfurt last month. (It takes second place in the January to
September sales with a Fiesta, Corsa, Golf one-two-three.)
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter