UK new car market shows ‘steady performance’

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The UK new car market remained steady in February with figures showing a slight dip compared to the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Data shows a total of 83,115 vehicles were registered last month compared to 83,395 in February 2016 – a dip of -0.3%.

Fleets drove the market with 45,699 cars registered compared to 44,253 in February 2016 – up 3.3%. Meanwhile, private demand fell -4.4% from 37,665 to 36,018 units and business registrations declined -5.3% from 1,477 to 1,398.

The SMMT said February is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year as car manufacturers get ready for the number plate change in March.

However, year-to-date performance is up 1.8% on last year to 257,679 registrations, the SMMT added.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “February is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year and a steady performance was expected following another year of record growth in 2016.

“We expect to see the market bounce back in March as buyers take advantage of the new 17-plate, as well as the last chance to buy a car eligible for current lower VED rates before they change on 1 April.”