New car registrations climb in July for 41st month in a row

Chris Papadopoullos
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UK car sales grew for a 41st consecutive month (Source: Getty)

UK car sales grew for a 41st consecutive month in July, new data shows, but market analysts expect the purchases to decelerate toward the end of the year.

UK firms and consumers bought 178,420 new cars in July, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It is 3.2 per cent more than in July 2014 and takes the overall number of units sold this year to 1,555,309 – an increase of 6.5 per cent on last year.

Registrations were driven up predominantly by fleet sales – large businesses buying a number of company cars – which are 13.1 per cent higher so far this year than in 2014. Sales to consumers are only two per cent higher.

But growth in new car registrations, which has spanned 41 consecutive months, is expected to lose steam.

"We anticipate a flatter second half of the year as the market finds its natural running rate," said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

"New car sales rose 3.2 per cent in July continuing the recent trend of low single digit growth seen in recent months,” said John Leech, head of automotive at KPMG UK.

"The strength of the Sterling and improving consumer confidence makes the UK car market attractive to vehicle manufacturers but the recovering Eurozone markets means that we now forecast muted growth in the second half of 2015. It seems more likely that the UK market will undershoot the all-time sales record of 2.58m vehicles set in 2003. We now expect sales of 2.56m in 2015."

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