Concern as SMMT reports another decline in new car market

by | Nov 6, 2018

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) released the latest figures for new car registrations on Monday and they show that the market fell again in October.

In total, there were 2.9% fewer registrations in October 2018 compared to the same month in 2017. Demand for new diesel cars fell by 21.3%, with the SMMT attributing this to ‘continuing uncertainty over government policy’.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented: “We need policies that encourage rather than confuse. Government’s forthcoming review of WLTP’s impact on taxation must ensure that buyers of the latest, cleanest cars are not unfairly penalised else we will see older, more polluting cars remain on the road for longer.”

Date courtesy of the SMMT.

Meanwhile, demand for petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) has continued to grow, 7.1% and 30.7% respectively. 10,597 AFVs were registered, accounting for 6.9% of the market last month. The majority of these vehicles were hybrid petrol-electric, however, there was a significant 86.9% increase in the number of zero-emission battery electric vehicles registered.

The SMMT stated that this growth in new AFV registrations is ‘not surprising’ given that the Plug-in Car Grant is to be cut from 9 November. Subsidies for all-electric cars are to be cut from £4,500 to £3,500 and grants for new plug-in hybrids will be scrapped completely. Hawes described this decision as “baffling”.

Date courtesy of the SMMT.

He added: “We’ve always said that world-class ambitions require world-class incentives and, even before the cuts to the grant, those ambitions were challenging.”

The increase in demand for petrol and AFVs has still not been enough to offset the losses seen from new diesel vehicles and to-date, the new car market is down 7.2% this year in comparison to 2017.

The most popular model this year remains the Ford Fiesta, with 84,980 new cars registered so far.

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