Diesel Reg Down 25% in January
The demand for petrol and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) rose in January, but failed to offset a 25.6% fall in new diesel registrations, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The monthly sales figures also showed that the new car market was down by 6.3% in January (163,615) compared with the same month in 2017 (174,564).
Fleet and business registrations fell by 3.7%, from 97,850 units in January 2017 to 94,199 last month. With the retail market accounting for 69,416 new car registrations, fleet and business registrations equated to a 58% market share.
Registrations of AFVs rose, up 8.5% and 23.9% respectively. However, this growth failed to offset the significant decline in demand for new diesel cars, which fell by 25.6%. The SMMT blames confusion over Government policy.
The SMMT says that its figures illustrate the importance of diesel cars and engines to the UK economy. Last year, more than two in five of the cars leaving British production lines were diesels, while manufacturers also produced more than 1 million engines – directly supporting some 3,350 jobs and, combined with the UK’s petrol engine output, delivering some £8.5 billion to the economy.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The ongoing and substantial decline in new diesel car registrations is concerning, particularly since the evidence indicates consumers and businesses are not switching into alternative technologies, but keeping their older cars running.
“Given fleet renewal is the fastest way to improve air quality and reduce CO2, we need government policy to encourage take up of the latest advanced low emission diesels as, for many drivers, they remain the right choice economically and environmentally.”
SMMT figures showed that dual purpose cars (SUVs) were the only vehicle segment to see growth, with demand up 6.6% to account for a fifth (20.2%) of all new car registrations. Demand in all other segments fell, with the biggest declines affecting the mini, MPV and executive segments.
Justin Benson, head of automotive at KPMG, believes uncertainty over Brexit is continuing to affect consumer confidence in the retail sector. He said: "The Government should play a vital role to help the industry rebuild trust and create more certainty for the consumer by focusing on ‘tail-pipe’ emission targets and robust testing arrangements, instead of stating the technology by which they should be attained.
“The SUV sales growth, however, is particularly promising, as these vehicles tend to include lightweight materials and hybrid technology which will help increase sales as we transition from internal combustion engines to other forms of propulsion.
“Elsewhere in the market, fleet operators are doing a good job at maintaining their sales levels when compared with business and private, and this is a trend that’s likely to continue. More vehicles will be sold and managed by fleet operators as other trends such as autonomous vehicles and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) increasingly change consumer behaviour to a world where individuals no longer own vehicles, but purchase packages of travel.”
Source: Fleet News
Added: 5th February 2018