Slower than expected pace for UK car sales image

UK new car market slightly rose in May, as the country is preparing for the referendum on whether it remains in the EU or not.

Demand for new cars in the UK showed an increase of only 2.5 percent last month, when 203,585 cars were registered, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Following the trend set in the previous two months, fleet registrations drove the growth, with an 8.8 percent rise offsetting a 3.0 percent decline in registrations to private customers.

The new car market in May remained high with compelling offers available on the latest vehicles, but the low growth is further evidence of the market cooling in the face of concerns around economic and political stability,” SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said. “Whether this is the result of some buyers holding off until the current uncertainty is resolved or a sign of a more stable market for new cars remains to be seen.”

1,164,870 cars have been registered throughout May, up 4.1 percent, but the last month was the second consecutive one when the new-car market in the UK showed a sub 3 percent growth. Demand for diesel cars continued to be solid, with a 5 percent increase, outstripping that for petrol models, which saw a marginal decline of 0.6 percent. Uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles, meanwhile, continued to outpace the overall market with registrations increasing by 12.1 percent.