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April 06 2018

New car registrations take a hit in March 2018

New car registrations take a hit in March 2018

 

March 2018 saw a 15.7% fall in new car registrations compared to the same period in 2017, as consumers become increasingly aware of the negative effects of diesel engines, and the road of political uncertainty, ahead.

Diesel vehicles – which took the worst hit with regards to new vehicle uptake – fell by 37%, an unprecedented drop compared with the year before. The drop is likely due to the press surrounding the dangers of diesel vehicles – which, compared with older diesel vehicles, are cleaner and safer – yet, the negative attribution of a diesel vehicle’s capacity to emit dangerous gasses into the atmosphere has influenced the decision of many consumers. There is also political uncertainty playing a part in the decision-making process, as consumers brace themselves for an impending break from the EU.

Once touted as the cleaner option compared with petrol, the diesel vehicle benefitted from a break in vehicle excise duty and was promoted through several monetary incentives which encouraged car buyers to purchase diesel over petrol due to its ‘greener’ credentials. New diesel vehicle registrations have been on the increase over the past decade, with March 2017 seeing the first drop in registrations, and this years’ drop being much more significant.

The figures, which were published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) earlier this month, also show that the demand for petrol vehicles remained flat and the only increase was reported in alternative fuel vehicles, which grew by 5.7%.

Consumer demand for plug in hybrid vehicles has been driving up the sale of alternatively-fuelled cars, albeit in a small capacity, but still greater than March 2017. However, the plunge in new vehicle registrations was felt across the entire industry, with fleets suffering a -15% change; business a -14.3% change; and private registrations suffering -16.5% change.

With the introduction of new registration plates each March, it’s generally expected that the industry will see a spike in new car registrations, however this isn’t the case due to March 2017 being an overly popular month for new car uptake. Last year saw a spike of sales before the April tax hike which affected new diesel vehicles.

Chief executive of SMMT, Mike Hawes commented on the decline:

 "March's decline is not unexpected, given the huge surge in registrations in the same month last year. 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.

"Consumer and business confidence, however, has taken a knock in recent months and a thriving new car market is essential to the overall health of our economy. This means creating the right economic conditions for all types of consumers to have the confidence to buy new vehicles."

All figures provided are those of the manufacturer and are not necessarily those of Go Green Leasing.

Posted on 6th April 2018 at 3:41PM

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