Diesel vehicle sales slump as petrol wins out

06 March, 2018, 02:28 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • UK car registrations slide in February as diesel demand continues to fall

The UK new vehicle market dipped in February, according to figures released Monday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, with 80,805 new cars registered - a 2.8% drop compared with February 2017.

And there was worse news for Jaguar Land Rover, as the West Midlands-based luxury carmaker saw sales plunge by 15 per cent.

February's figures continue the trend of previous months with petrol and AFV sales rising 14.4 per cent and 7.2 per cent respectively in the face of a 23.5 per cent slump in diesel sales. Fleet registrations fell 2.5% to 44,554 units while sub-25 "business" registrations were down 30.4% (974 units) and private registrations declined 2.0% (35,227).

In November's Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a tax hike on new diesel cars from April 1.

James Hind, CEO of independent vehicle buying site Carwow commented: "There is still so much confusion in regards to the future of diesel that, en lieu of greater clarity from the Government, the industry has to use multiple ways to drive sales".

Environmental groups have called for restrictions on the most polluting cars entering towns and cities with the worst air quality.

However, he warned to expect the market to decline again in March, despite the coming number plate change.

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Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, "February is typically a quiet month as buyers await the March plate change so the rise in demand is welcome news".

Drivers have been shunning diesel cars on the back of government surcharges - such as the VED auto tax rise from April - and the threat of low emissions zones across the country.

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

Howard Archer, the chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: "Car sales are likely to be hampered by mounting pressure to restrict auto finance deals and unsecured consumer credit".

"If the Government were more insistent about the need to switch, and started offering subsidies for AFV auto purchases, then I'm sure we would see more vehicle owners switching".

'But there's a lot of silence out there at the moment and very little action, so consumers don't see any reason to buy AFVs and are sticking to what they know with petrol cars'. This suggests that diesel drivers are keeping older cars for longer - disappointing considering the latest diesels can help address air quality issues.



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