The UK new car market grew 10.4% in April, with 167,911 new units registered.
April figures this year paint a mixed picture, with retail demand growing 26.3%, while the fleet market remained stable at 0.9%.
However, registrations to businesses with fewer than 25 cars on their books, saw a significant decline, falling -12.9% compared with the same month last year.
The SMMT said demand was affected by a number of factors, including the timing of Easter, which meant two additional selling days this April, and March’s adverse weather, which pushed some deliveries into April.
The VED changes that came into force last April, caused a pull forward into March 2017 and a subsequent depressed April market.
Demand for petrol cars grew in April, up 38.5%, while diesel registrations fell -24.9%.
Registrations of plug-in and hybrid electric cars rose 49.3%, albeit from a low base. AFVs still account for just 5.6% of the market. Year to date registrations are down -8.8% to 886,400 units.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “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.”