The new car market experienced a year-on-year demand surge of 23.1% in August, the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have shown.

August is a quiet month, with 94,094 units registered during the month. It is likely a proportion of the cars registered do not conform to the WLTP testing regime, which came into effect on 1 September.

Car makers were unable to register non-WLTP compliant vehicles beyond 31 August, so it is likely some buyers took advantage of the situation and gained discounts on old stock.

Fleet registrations increased by 19.7% compared with August 2017, while the number of alternatively-fuelled vehicles registered also increased during the month. According to the SMMT, AFVs accounted for 8.0% of all cars registered during the month – its highest-ever level.

New cars

Despite the surge in August, 68,255 fewer cars have been registered in the first eight months of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017, a 4.2% drop following a turbulent start to the year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “It’s great to see such strong growth, particularly in the important electric vehicle market. However, given August is always a small month in new car registrations ahead of the important plate-change month of September, it would be wrong to view the market as booming. Indeed, this past month has seen some significant variances as regulatory changes have disrupted some supplies. In the long term, however, the new emissions certification test will give consumers renewed confidence in the performance of all vehicles, helping them choose the latest, cleanest technology that best suits their driving needs, whether that be petrol, diesel, hybrid or plug-in.”