SMMT July registrations
- 161,997 new cars registered in July as market drops 9.3%
- Fourth consecutive monthly fall.
- Demand down 23.8% business, 10.1% fleet and 6.8% private buyers
- 5.5% new record market share for alternatively fuelled vehicles
- AFV demand surges 64.9% with 8,871 units registered.
THE UK new car market decline continues, down 9.3% in July – a fall mirrored among the fleet orders taking half the market, according to figures published today by the SMMT.
The fourth consecutive monthly fall to the lowest July tally for four years sparked a call for action to restore market confidence and clarify clean air rules, as the diesel decline continued, down 20% year-on-year.
In July 161,997 new cars were registered as the market continues to fall amid growing uncertainty over Brexit and in line with forecasts.
The only bright aspects were a 65% rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles and 10.3% rise in specialist sports cars.
Among the best sellers the Ford Focus topped the chart for the first time in years, just 15 ahead of the new VW Golf, while the Fiesta slipped further to fourth, just ahead of VW Polo, as the new model only just starts to come on line.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The fall in consumer and business confidence is having a knock-on effect on demand in the new car market and government must act quickly to provide concrete plans regarding Brexit.
“While it’s encouraging to see record achievements for alternatively fuelled vehicles, consumers considering other fuel types will have undoubtedly been affected by the uncertainty surrounding the government’s clean air plans.
“It is important to remember that there are no plans to charge drivers using the latest Euro 6 models and no proposed bans for conventional petrol and diesel vehicles for some 23 years.
“The lower demand in recent months will inevitably mean competition from manufacturers will intensify and it will be a good opportunity for consumers to get a great deal on their next car, with many exciting new models launched in the coming months.”
Demand was down across business, fleet and private buyers – with corresponding falls of 23.8%, 10.1% and 6.8%. Elsewhere, in the month more buyers opted for dual purpose and specialist sports cars – the only two vehicle segments to enjoy growth of 7.3% and 10.3% respectively.
The demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) soared 64.9% as consumers continue to invest in the latest low-emission fuel technology. AFVs took a new record 5.5% market share in July, as 8,871 new units were driven off forecourts.
Nearly 70,000 new AFVs have joined UK roads this year. Meanwhile registrations for new petrol and diesel cars declined by 3.0% and 20.1% respectively.
Months of speculation about government policies on diesels has inevitably led to a softening of demand and slowed the market shift to the latest cleaner Euro 6 diesels which are valued by consumers for their fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions.
So far the year-to-date overall performance remains at a high level thanks to a strong first quarter – with more than 1.5 million new cars registered on UK roads since January.