9 February, 2018
January blues for UK car market
The UK new car market declined in the first month of the year, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The organisation has said 163,615 cars were driven off forecourts in January, a 6.3 per cent fall compared with the same month in 2017.
Demand fell across the board, with registrations by business, private and fleet buyers down 29.7 per cent, 9.5 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, continuing the trend of recent months, dual purpose cars (SUVs) were the only vehicle segment to see growth, with demand up 6.6 per cent to account for a fifth (20.2 per cent) of all new car registrations.
Demand in all other segments fell, with the biggest declines affecting the mini, MPV and executive segments.
Elsewhere in the market, registrations of petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rose, up 8.5 per cent and 23.9 per cent respectively.
However, this growth failed to offset a significant decline in demand for new diesel cars, which fell 25.6 per cent as confusion over government policy continued to cause buyers to hesitate.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes 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.”