THE UK new car market declined -9.3 per cent in July, according to figures published by the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the fourth consecutive monthly fall. 161,997 new cars were registered in the month as the market continues to fall amidst growing uncertainty over Brexit and in line with forecasts.
Demand was down across business, fleet and private buyers – with corresponding falls of -23.8 per cent, -10.1 per cent and -6.8 per cent. 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 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively.
The demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) soared 64.9 per cent as consumers continue to invest in the latest low-emission fuel technology. AFVs took a new record 5.5 per cent 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 per cent and -20.1 per cent 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.
Despite the disappointing July sales figures, 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.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, 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.”