UK car market sees 16th consecutive rise with over one million sales in the first half of 2013

UK car registrations grew by 13.4 per cent to 214,957 units in June, according to SMMT (release).

Private, fleet and business sectors grew from January to June, but private demand increased the most over the first half of the year, up 17.1%, after a 21.3% rise in June.

Mike Baunton, SMMT interim chief executive:

Boosted by consistently strong private demand and further growth in June, half-year new car registrations have topped the one million mark.

While there are still potential challenges ahead, recent robust growth suggests that the market is on course to perform well ahead of 2012 levels.

Howard Archer, chief UK & European economist, IHS Global Insight:

It is evident that private new car sales are being supported by attractive offers and packages, as well as by motorists’ desire to buy more fuel efficient cars at a time of relatively high petrol prices. It is also likely that elevated employment and recently significantly higher consumer confidence means that people are more prepared to replace aging cars.

While car manufacturers and dealers will likely be pretty pleased with the way sales have gone so far in the UK in 2013 (particularly when compared with generally very poor sales across Europe) they are well aware that they still face challenging conditions over the coming months with consumers’ purchasing power under pressure from inflation currently running markedly higher than earnings growth while businesses are still under pressure to contain costs.