Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

United Kingdom vehicle market suffers February fall - SMMT

United Kingdom vehicle market suffers February fall - SMMT

New UK new auto registrations were down 2.8% in February from a year earlier, hit by another fall in the sale of diesel vehicles.

The UK new vehicle market has declined 5.1% for the year-to-date, with registrations by business, private and fleet buyers all down.

80,805 new cars driven off forecourts in the month, -2.8% down on 2017, as United Kingdom new auto market dips.

The CEO of the SMMT, Mike Hawes, says they expect "further softening" looking ahead to the number plate change month.

In February, the Ford Fiesta was the best-selling vehicle with 5,201 sales, 78% more than its closest competitor the Volkswagen Golf.

Year-on-year sales of diesels are now down nearly 10 per cent but Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT has tried to reassure buyers that the latest diesel are clean and not subject to the latest toxicity and pollution charges. However, this was largely driven by a slump in demand for diesel cars. Business registrations have seen the largest drop, down 29.8%.

The rest of the vehicle market did not see a slump and sales in petrol cars rose by 14.4 percent.

Sales of diesel cars fell by 23.5% to 28,317 last month, reducing their share of the market to 35% from 44.5% a year ago.

So far this year there have been 10,078 new cars sold in Northern Ireland, which represents a decline of 3.15 per cent compared to last year's sales figures for the same period.

What's causing the decline in new auto sales in the UK?

The SMMT noted this was a disappointing performance saying the latest low emission vehicles could help address air quality issues.

"While diesel cars are becoming less popular as drivers look to "go green", these figures show that consumers have not rushed towards alternatively fuelled cars as some expected".

Consumers continued to ditch diesel cars last month for automobiles that are regarded as more environmentally-friendly. A change in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) introduced last April meant that consumers rushed to buy cars in March, inflating demand.

"Our message to fleet managers and individual drivers is to stay focused on getting the right vehicle for the right job, and to seek expert advice when considering a shift in vehicle fleet policy or choosing a new auto".

Like this: