United Kingdom sales of diesel cars decline by 37% in one year
United Kingdom sales of diesel cars decline by 37% in one year
The new car market continues to decline in the UK as demand for diesels plummets industry figures show
07 April, 2018, 00:34
The UK's new vehicle market shrank by 15.7% year-on-year last month, making March the twelfth consecutive month of falling auto registrations.
There were 245,446 units registered to fleet and business last month, compared to 288,618 units during March 2017, equating to a market share of nearly 52%. However Mike Hawes, CEO of SMMT, said vehicle sales are still high compared to historic figures, although he urged the government to offer consumers more clarity over its air quality plans.
The fall in overall demand was fairly uniform across different types of buyers, with private registrations down 16.5%, fleet registrations down 15%, and business registrations (to fleets with less than 25 vehicles) down 14.3%. That's according to new figures from the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Despite the drop in diesel auto sales, registrations of petrol vehicles have increased compared to the same period 12 months ago, with 441,182 vehicles sold compared to 426,093 in 2017, an increase of 3.5%.
Continuing the recent trend, diesel registrations declined in March, down 37.2%.
The market for alternatively fuelled vehicles has continued to grow apace, seeing a 9.8% rise compared to the same period a year ago - although still only making up a small proportion of the overall number of new cars on the market - 36,693 out of a total 718,489.
Hawes added that the government should incentivise drivers to have new cars rather than retain older models. Although the United Kingdom is expected to be the worst-performing new auto market in Europe in 2018, it remains the second largest and demand is still surprisingly high.
Including private registrations, the market fell by nearly 16%, with 474,069 cars registered compared to 562,337 units a year ago. However, almost 720,000 new high-tech, low-emission cars left forecourts in the first quarter of 2018 as consumers took advantage of competitive offers, meaning last month's market was still the fourth biggest on record. A new SMMT study of economic figures highlights the broader industry's impact on adjacent sectors from logistics, retail and distribution to auto finance, fuel, maintenance and insurance.
So-called "alternatively fuelled vehicles" now hold a five per cent market share in the United Kingdom, according to SMMT.
"Despite this, the market itself is relatively high with the underlying factors in terms of consumer choice, finance availability and cost of ownership all highly competitive". This means creating the right economic conditions for all types of consumers to have the confidence to buy new vehicles.
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