Demand for diesel continued to decline in October while interest in alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) climbed.
The figures have prompted the SMMT’s chief executive to call on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to restore stability in the market.
The UK new car market declined for a seventh consecutive month, with 158,192 new units registered, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Demand fell by -12.2% in the month, as falling confidence among buyers continued to impact the market.
Declines were seen across all sectors, with business and fleet demand down -26.8% and -13.0% respectively.
Meanwhile, dealers reported -10.1% fewer private buyers taking delivery of new cars in the month.AFV demand continued to rise, up 36.9% to 8,244 registrations, while petrol models enjoyed a more modest growth of 2.7%.
However, these gains were unable to offset heavy losses in the diesel segment, as continuing consumer concerns resulted in its biggest hit yet, with demand down -29.9%.Year-to-date, the overall market is down -4.6% on 2016 levels, with 2,224,603 cars registered in the first 10 months.
This aligns with SMMT’s latest forecast for 2017, published last week, with the market expected to end the year on 2.565 million units – a -4.7% decline.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: ‘Declining business and consumer confidence is undoubtedly affecting demand in the new car market, but this is being compounded by confusion over government policy on diesel. Consumers need urgent reassurance that the latest, low emission diesel cars on sale will not face any bans, charges or other restrictions, anywhere in the UK. We urge the Government to use the forthcoming Autumn Budget to restore stability to the market, encouraging the purchase of the latest low emission vehicles as fleet renewal is the fastest and most effective way of addressing air quality concerns.’
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