United Kingdom auto sales fall for eight month in a row - SMMT

Ivan Schwartz
December 6, 2017

The UK's market for new cars declined for an eighth consecutive month in November, with experts citing continued confusion around the Government's policy on diesel.

According to the figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), it was the eighth consecutive month the United Kingdom new vehicle market had declined.

Rod Dennis, RAC spokesman, said: "The decline in new diesel sales however is stark - while the modest growth in petrol sales shows that some owners may be moving from diesel to petrol, it could also be evidence that diesel drivers are choosing to hold on to their current vehicles for longer when faced with uncertainty over future diesel taxes and charges".

Business, fleet and private registrations all fell, down -33.6%, -14.4% and -5.1% respectively. But neither of those increases was big enough to offset a dramatic 30.6 per cent drop in diesel registrations.

This follows the recent Budget, in which Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced he would be increasing taxes on brand new diesel cars in order to cut air pollution, rather than targeting older diesel cars, vans and trucks, that pump out far greater quantities of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants.

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Alex Buttle, director of auto website motorway.co.uk, said: "The flight from diesel has been so severe over the past few months that total sales figures are nearly meaningless as a point of reference for the health of the vehicle industry".

The fall marks the eight month of falling registrations in 2017.

Overall, registrations have declined -5.0% in the 11 months in 2017, with 2,388,144 cars hitting British roads so far this year.

"Penalising the latest, cleanest diesels is counterproductive and will have detrimental environmental and economic consequences".

"An eighth month of decline in the new vehicle market is a major concern, with falling business and consumer confidence exacerbated by ongoing anti-diesel messages from government", said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

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