Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

United Kingdom vehicle sales slump 12% on low consumer confidence

October dip New car sales are back down to levels last seen in 2013 SMMT data shows October dip New car sales are back down to levels last seen in 2013 SMMT data shows
Kelvin Reese | 07 November, 2017, 01:10

New auto registrations fell for the seventh month in a row as 158,192 vehicles were sold in October, down 12.2% compared to the same month previous year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

There were 158,192 new units registered, with overall demand down by 12.2% in the month, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Diesel cars have been the subject of particular focus in light of recent attention on the UK's air quality, as older diesel vehicles, particularly those that do not meet the latest (Euro VI) vehicle emissions standard, are known to emit high levels of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides.

Diesel vehicle engines produce high quantities of nitrogen oxides which are harmful to the lungs and heart, and can lead to respiratory issues, heart attacks and strokes.

Demand from businesses and fleet orders dropped 26.8% and 13% respectively last month. Meanwhile, dealers reported -10.1% fewer private buyers taking delivery of new cars in the month.

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"It's also worth noting that although we see a continued fall in demand for diesel, this remains an appropriate fuel choice for many drivers". 24,968 new LCVs joined British roads in October, a -7.4 per cent fall compared with the same month previous year. The SMMT forecast that the market would end the year at 2.56m vehicles - a 4.7% decline, with a further decline of 5.4% next year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "Declining business and consumer confidence is undoubtedly affecting demand in the new vehicle market but this is being compounded by confusion over government policy on diesel".

Hawes called for consumers to be given reassurance that the latest, low-emission diesel cars on sale will not face any bans or charges in the UK.

He said: "Diesel's market share is plummeting and consumers aren't listening to rhetoric about cleaner diesel models, however much the industry drums on about it".

Diesel sales continued to fall but still had a 39% market share in the month, down from 49% as sales fell 30% to just over 62,000, down 15% in the year to date.

Alex Buttle, of vehicle buying comparison website Motorway.co.uk, said: "Diesel's market share is plummeting and consumers aren't listening to rhetoric about cleaner diesel models, however much the industry drums on about it".

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