UK’s new car market declines for fourth consecutive month

Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles fell for first time in 26 months

UK’s new car market declines for fourth consecutive month
The alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) sector fell into negative growth for the first time since April 2017.

UK new car registrations declined for a fourth consecutive month in June, with year-on-year demand falling by 4.9 per cent to 223,421 units, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

1,269,245 new cars joined British roads in the first half of the year, down 3.4 per cent.

The SMMT has put the decline down to “ongoing confusion” over low emission zones and diesel, the removal of ultra low emission vehicle incentives and an overall decline in buyer confidence.

Demand fell in all sectors and across every vehicle segment, except dual purpose which grew 9.1 per cent in June and 7.3 per cent year-to-date.

The supermini remains the UK’s best-selling segment, making up 31 per cent of all registrations in the first six months.

The month saw growth for petrol and battery electric registrations, up 3.0 per cent and 61.7 per cent respectively, but this was not enough to offset the continuing decline of diesel, which fell for the 27th month in a row.

Plug-in hybrids continued the recent downward trend, falling by 50.4 per cent, while hybrids also fell, by 4.7 per cent.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles

The alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) sector fell into negative growth for the first time since April 2017.

AFV registrations (BEV, PHEV, HEV) declined 11.8 per cent to 13,314 units in June.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Another month of decline is worrying but the fact that sales of alternatively fuelled cars are going into reverse is a grave concern.

“Manufacturers have invested billions to bring these vehicles to market but their efforts are now being undermined by confusing policies and the premature removal of purchase incentives.

“If we are to see widespread uptake of these vehicles, which are an essential part of a smooth transition to zero emission transport, we need world-class, long-term incentives and substantial investment in infrastructure.

“Fleet renewal remains the quickest way to address environmental concerns today and consumers should have the confidence – and support – to choose the new car that best meets their driving needs, whatever the technology, secure in the knowledge that it is safer and cleaner than ever before.”

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