Britain rides out Brexit bump as new car registrations rise again

Published: 05 September 2016

► British car registrations bounce back
► Brexit does little to dent growth
► August 2016 sales figure analysed

New car registration figures issued today reveal that Britain's love affair with mint motors hasn't slowed down post-Brexit – they're up for the second month in a row.

Many analysts had expected registrations to fall after the uncertainty caused by the referendum vote to leave the EU, but the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported an increase of 3.3% registrations in August 2016, to 81,640.

And the wider picture is positive, too, with year-to-date figures over the first eight months of 2016 increasing by 2.8%, at 1.68 million registrations.

Why are Brits buying more cars?

While the figures are promising on one level, it's worth digging into the figures in more detail. Private retail sales dropped 6.1% last month, showing that it's the less profitable corporate and business fleet sales that are providing the growth. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: 'August is traditionally one of the quietest months as consumers look ahead to the September plate change, so growth, albeit small, is good news.'

The August growth follows a modest 0.1% rise in July, the month after the referendum on 23 June 2016.

See the top sellers chart below; the Ford Fiesta remains Britain's most popular new car.

UK new-car sales figures

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet