February witnesses further decline in new car sales
February witnessed a continuing decline in new vehicle sales, states a report released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the SMMT.
February became the eleventh consecutive month of decline with new diesel vehicle sales being hit the hardest. Against the background of mixed and confusing messages in regards to the Government's stance on diesel engine vehicles, it appears that consumer buying confidence is at a low when it comes to committing to a diesel engined vehicle.
The figures illustrate that 80,805 cars were registered in February which represents a -2.8% decline year-on-year. Within that figure, 28,317 of these were diesel engined vehicles translating to a decline of -23.5% and a reduced market share of 35%, down by 9.5%. For the defectors of diesel, petrol appears to be the saviour as petrol engined vehicles enjoyed a growth of 14.4% year-on-year resulting in 48,941 petrol vehicles registered.
In a continuing trend, sales of electric and alternatively fueled vehicles have remained buoyant witnessing sales of 3,547, which represents a 7.2% uplift compared to this time last year and an increased market share of 0.4%.
Despite being another month of decline, the industry as a whole remains in good health with the latest February figures making it the third most prosperous February in the industry for over a decade.
Speaking at the release of the February data, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Although the new car market has dipped, it remains at a good level despite the drop in demand for diesel. Consumers should be reassured, however, that the latest cars are the cleanest in history and can help address air quality issues, which is why they are exempt from any restrictions. Looking ahead to the crucial number plate change month of March, we expect a further softening, given March 2017 was a record as registrations were pulled forward to avoid VED changes.”
In the year to date, 2018 has seen a new car market decline of -5.1%. February is traditionally one of the quiet months of the year as buyers await the new 18’ registration which was released on March 1st.