Published: Thu, April 05, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

United Kingdom vehicle sales fall in March completes full year of decline

United Kingdom vehicle sales fall in March completes full year of decline

According to the SMMT, "political uncertainty and confusion over air quality plans" has continued to affect consumer confidence, which it claims has contributed to the declining sales figures. Just under 60,000 new LCVs hit United Kingdom roads last month, representing a -5.6% decline on March the previous year.

The headline drop for new vehicle sales in the United Kingdom in March 2018 is a drop of 15.7 per cent, with new diesel sales dropping by a thumping 37.2 per cent.

The UK new auto market declined in March, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

New vehicle registrations have fallen for the 12th consecutive month, with year-to-date performance down -12.4 per cent.

Helping to offset the decline in diesel registrations, the market for petrol cars rose by 0.5%, while the number of alternatively fuelled cars registered rose by 5.7%, including an 18.2% rise in demand for plug-in hybrids.

The latter has had registrations fall by over 37% due to excise, emissions reports and recent legislation from the EU. Registrations of petrol cars were stable, up 0.5 per cent.

Preliminary data shows the market for new cars in the United Kingdom fell by 15.7% compared to 2017 figures, the biggest fall since the 2009 financial collapse.


SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "March's decline is not unexpected given the huge surge in registrations in the same month previous year".

The Ford Fiesta remained the country's favourite auto, with 19,272 units sold in March alone.

"There are many, many hundreds of consumers out there who are running diesel cars, [who] would normally have thought about changing round about now but are reluctant to do so because all they hear is that if they do buy a diesel auto, it's not going to be worth anything in a few months' time and so they are hanging fire".

"March's decline is not unexpected given the huge surge in registrations in the same month a year ago", SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said regarding the latest data.

"Despite this, the market itself is relatively high with the underlying factors in terms of consumer choice, finance availability and cost of ownership all highly competitive".

"This means creating the right economic conditions for all types of consumers to have the confidence to buy new vehicles", he said. On the road, the vehicle fuel industry supports 40,000 jobs, and a further 347,000 are employed in vehicle servicing and fix.

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