New car sales in the UK were low in August, with a rise of just more than 3%, as consumers await the arrival of new registrations this month.
A total of 81,640 new cars were registered in the month, with trading for the year to date remaining positive, increasing by 2.8% to 1.68 million units.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said that the fleet sector helped to drive what growth there was, up by 7.7% to 43,267 vehicles as fleet managers were lured in by attractive finance packages and discounts.
Private registrations fell marginally by -0.2% despite the best efforts of manufacturers and their dealers.
Diesel demand fell by the same margin, while petrol registrations edged ahead 5.3% and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVss) saw major growth of 30.8%.
So far this year, almost 54,000 AFVs have been registered, which is an increase of almost 10,000 on the whole of last year.
SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes said that August is traditionally one of the quietest months as consumers look ahead to the September plate change, which means that any growth, albeit small, is good news.
Hawes continued: With showrooms full of exciting models featuring the very latest technology and a raft of affordable finance options, it still makes economic sense to consider buying a new car.
The key to maintaining this strong market is consumer confidence for which we look to government to deliver the conditions for economic growth.
The majority of car manufacturers enjoyed a positive month, however Jaguar was not among them, despite the marque enjoying a resurgence in recent times, buoyed by the success of the XE and more recently the new F-Pace.
However, whether as a result of strong comparables or buyers waiting for the new registrations, the brand saw a 13.6% decline last month with 722 cars sold against 836 in August last year.