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The UK new car market grew by 10.4% in April with 167,911 units being registered last month, the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have revealed.

In isolation, this sounds impressive bearing in mind the new car market has been declining for several months in a row, however, thanks to the new VED changes that came into force in April 2017, many registrations were pulled forward by a month.

The SMMT also said the timing of Easter also helped boost registrations, as it allowed two extra selling days last month, while March’s adverse weather also pushed a few registrations into the following month.

Fleet registrations fared well during the month, growing by 0.9% to 87,486 units, though the market is still down by 8.5% compared with the first four months of 2017.

New cars

Diesel registrations continued the recent trend, dropping by a quarter (24.9%) as private and fleet buyers are shying away from the fuel thanks to the continued uncertainty from the Government surrounding the future of the fuel, while petrol registrations grew by 38.5% and demand for plug-in and hybrid vehicles increased by 49.3%.

“It’s important not to look at one month in isolation and, given the major disruption to last April’s market caused by sweeping VED changes, this increase is not unexpected. While the continuing growth in demand for plug-in and hybrid cars is positive news, the market share of these vehicles remains low and will do little to offset damaging declines elsewhere. Consumers need certainty about future policies towards different fuel types, including diesel, and a compelling package of incentives to deliver long-term confidence in the newest technologies.”