The figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that in January, 163,615 vehicles were driven off the country’s forecourts, a fall of 5.3% compared with the same month last year. This represents the 10th consecutive month of decline in the country’s market.
Demand fell across all sectors of the industry, with business registrations down 29.7%, fleet purchases falling 1.8% and private sales dropping 9.5%. Meanwhile, continuing trends seen towards the end of the year, the SUV market was the only vehicle segment to register growth, with demand up 6.6% and a market share of 20.2%. Demand in all other segments fell, with the biggest declines affecting the mini, MPV and executive segments.
In fuel segments, registrations of petrol vehicles rose by 8.5%, while alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), including hybrid and electric, grew by 23.9%, albeit on smaller margins. However, these gains were not enough to cover a huge drop in diesel registrations, which were down by 25.6%. This is partially due to government policy on the fuel, and recent press demonisation of the issues surrounding emissions.
In April 2017, the country’s vehicle excise duty (VED) system was amended to remove favourable rates for diesel cars, while the UK Government announced in November last year that it will again amend rates for the first year of registration for all new diesel vehicles from April 2018.