New car registrations grew 11.3 percent in July 2020 following the June reopening of dealerships in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
The June sales increase is the first since December 2019.
Dealership closures due to the coronavirus crisis have had a severe impact on new car registrations and deliveries. They fell 44 percent in March, 97 percent in April, 89 percent in May and 35 percent in June.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says that despite the July recovery, year-to-date registrations are still down almost 42 percent.
‘Pent up demand’
Pent-up demand helped drive July new car registrations to 174,887 vehicles, says the SMMT.
Demand from private buyers was particularly strong, growing 20.4 percent. This was helped by strong finance incentives, with eight of the 10 top brands offering flexible finance initiatives including offset payments.
Fleet car sales, however, only grew 5.2 percent and business car sales actually fell 11.8 percent.
“July’s figures are positive, with a boost from demand pent up from earlier in the year and some attractive offers meaning there are some very good deals to be had,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
“We must be cautious, however, as showrooms have only just fully reopened nationwide and there is still much uncertainty about the future.”
Mr Hawes said it will only become clear by the end of September whether the turnaround in new car registrations is part of a long-term trend.
June 2020 best-selling cars
1: Vauxhall Corsa
2: Ford Fiesta
3: Ford Focus
4: Volkswagen Golf
5: Mercedes-Benz A-Class
6: Nissan Qashqai
7: Volkswagen Polo
9: Volkswagen Tiguan
10: Ford Kuga