Bumper month for car registrations

September was a bumper month for new car registrations, with 425,861 new vehicles coming onto UK roads.
That’s a 5.6% increase on August and is the highest total for the key month of September for 10 years. It also marks the thirty-first consecutive month of growth for the car market, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says. And means registrations are up 6.2% for the third quarter of the year and 9.1% year on year compared to this point in 2013. Let’s take a closer look at what cars proved popular and why…

Registrations accelerate in September

September is always a big month for the car industry because – along with March – it is one of the two months in which plates change. The UK switched to a twice-yearly plate change in 1999. Since then, September and March account for more than a third of annual car registrations – mainly because cars with the new plate keep their value better than those with the old one. The number of registrations in March was much higher this year, though, surging by an incredible 18% and pushing first quarter growth to 13.7%. September’s more moderate growth is therefore being taken as a sign that demand is starting to level off.

When I’m 64…

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Demand for the new 64-plate has been boosted by intensifying confidence in the UK economy, with consumers attracted by a wide range of exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient, new cars. “In the months since March, growth has shown signs of levelling off as the market starts to find its natural running rate.”

Fashion favourites

The Ford Fiesta was easily the most popular car both in September and over the entire year to date, the SMMT figures show. Ford also grabbed the number two spot in both with the bigger Focus, behind which came the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Corsa vying for third and fourth position. In September, it was the Golf in third place. But over the year so far, the Corsa pushes the Golf back into fourth position. [embed width="600" height="355"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diqr9oegF40[/embed]

Sharpened focus

This is a different picture to 10 years ago, when the Focus was the best seller – holding the top spot from 1999 right the way through to 2008. “It indicates a wider trend for people swapping larger hatchbacks for superminis,” Hawes said.

Colour scheming

Our colour of choice has also changed over the last decade. In 2004, silver and blue were the most popular colours for new cars. But now, white is at the top of the colour chart, followed by black and then blue.

Putting the brakes on CO2

The average new car registered last month had CO2 emissions of 122.3 g/km and did 59 miles per gallon (mpg). But back in 2004, the typical vehicle registered had CO2 emissions of 179g/km and managed just 42.4mpg. And even in 2013, average CO2 emissions were at 128.3g/km.

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