New car registrations soared by nearly a quarter last month, with dealerships selling 94,094 vehicles.
That’s a 23 per cent rise from 76,433 sold in August 2017, data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today revealed.
Regulatory changes were credited with the unexpectedly high growth in a traditionally slow month before new registration plates arrive in September.
All new cars registered from September 2018 are subject to stricter fuel emissions tests, prompting deals for some models like the Suzuki Swift and Honda Jazz.
However, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the market is not “booming”.
“It’s great to see such strong growth, particularly in the important electric vehicle market. However, given August is always a small month in new car registrations ahead of the important plate-change month of September, it would be wrong to view the market as booming,” he said.
“Indeed, this past month has seen some significant variances as regulatory changes have disrupted some supplies. In the long term, however, the new emissions certification test will give consumers renewed confidence in the performance of all vehicles, helping them choose the latest, cleanest technology that best suits their driving needs, whether that be petrol, diesel, hybrid or plug-in.”
In the year to date the automotive market remains down 4.2 per cent on the same period last year, following turbulence in the sector for the last eight months.
But with one in 12 drivers choosing an electric vehicle, demand for hybrid and plug-in cars has soared 89 per cent, and 1.5m new cars featuring better safety and emissions technology have hit UK roads so far this year.