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Although still early in the year, 2018 has proven to be a busy period for the industry. New number plates are released in the UK every six months, making September and, particularly, March the two busiest periods for new car registrations.
The latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), covering the busy March window, has shown new vehicle sales have dropped from historic highs over the past year.
UK new car registrations slump in early 2018
New car registrations in the first quarter of 2018 totalled 718,489, lagging 12.4% behind last year’s figure of 820,016. The weak start suggests annual sales of new cars could be considerably lower this year, which would point toward a lower trend from the peak in 2016. UK car dealerships have supported this view, adding that the growth in recent years should be good news for used car sales and aftercare.
New registrations in March 2018 alone were 15.7% lower year-on-year and marked the 12th consecutive monthly decline. However, March 2017 was the biggest month ever for new car registrations, as buyers seized the chance to purchase cars before new Vehicle Excise Duty rates came into force in April last year.