New car registrations in July increased for the first time this year as sales bounced back following several months of huge downturns during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Car showrooms across the UK were closed for the entirety of April and May, which lead to a catastrophic drop in new car registrations. While those in England reopened at the start of June, premises in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland were later to start up – meaning July was the first full month that showrooms across the UK were open.
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that new car registrations increased by 11.3% July, compared to the same period in 2019, with 174,887 new cars being added to the roads. That’s the first time registrations have increased during 2020, and the highest figure seen for July registrations since 2016.
All fuel types except diesel saw an increase in registrations, with electrified models continuing to prove popular as EV registrations increased by 259.4% to 8,162 sales and plug-in hybrids by a significant 320.3% to 7,447 registrations.
As for the most popular new cars, there were no surprises at the top, with the Vauxhall Corsa (5,455 registrations), Ford Fiesta (5,421) and Ford Focus (4,981) taking the top three spots.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “July’s figures are positive, with a boost from demand pent up from earlier in the year and some attractive offers meaning there are some very good deals to be had. We must be cautious, however, as showrooms have only just fully reopened nationwide and there is still much uncertainty about the future.”
Despite an increase in sales during July, total registrations during the first seven months of 2020 are still down by 41.9%, with the SMMT predicting an overall decline in new cars of 30% by the end of the year compared to 2019.