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UK car registrations were up by nearly 9 per cent last month compared with the same time last year, making it the best September for new car sales on record.

Some commentators had thought that car sales would fall in September, after the Volkswagen emissions scandal recently hit the headlines. But it seems that any potential effects haven’t taken hold yet, as the stats from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that more than 462,000 cars were registered last month.

65-plate sales

September is traditionally a good month for car sales as it’s when the new registration plates are released. The 65-plate registrations went on sale last month and it seems that thousands of customers took the opportunity to upgrade to a new car.

In April, we told you about the strong early car sales for the first few months of the year, and there have now been more than two million new cars registered this year in the UK, 7 per cent higher than this time last year. The strong sales means that September was the 43rd consecutive month of growth for the UK car market.

Almost 1.2 million British cars have been affected by the Volkswagen emissions scandal (which also impacts Audis, Skodas and Seats), which saw the car manufacturers sell diesel vehicles with software designed to artificially reduce emissions levels when the car is in test conditions. It could mean owners of affected cars have to pay more in road tax – though VW has promised that customers will get the compensation they deserve.

It seems that new car sales haven’t been affected by the problems at VW though, and the figures also show that diesel cars were still popular in September. “It is too early to draw conclusions [from the Volkswagen scandal], but customer demand for diesel remained strong, accounting for one in two cars registered,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.

However, more petrol cars were sold than diesel, in comparison to 2014 when the opposite was true. It might be that we’ll start to see a slowing down in the number of diesel cars sold as customers switch to petrol instead.

Buying a new car

If you’re thinking of getting a new car, you don’t have to spend a fortune. Look online for offers from dealers and when you head down to your local garage ask the dealer to match this price. You might be more likely to get a good deal if you go at the end of the month, as sales assistants could have targets to meet so might be more open to you asking for a discount.

You could reduce the cost by offering your current vehicle in part exchange. See how much the dealer will offer you for the car you’ve got and if it’s worth it, you could sell it to them and put the money towards your new vehicle.

Not sure whether you should buy a brand new vehicle or a second-hand one? Check out our blog to help you decide between new and used cars.

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