Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) calls for technology neutral strategy by the British Government giving motorists confidence to buy right car and right technology for their needs. The SMMT believes that strong growth for petrols and plug-ins can’t offset heavy diesel declines, with demand down 28.2% as buyers hesitate.
The UK new car market declined moderately in June, with year-on-year demand falling by 3.5%, according to the latest figures released today by the SMMT. 234,945 new cars joined British roads in the month as the market continues to stabilise following turbulence over the past year or so.
Demand from larger fleets fell 6.4%, but business buyers with fewer than 25 vehicles on their books returned to showrooms, registering an 11.3% uplift in demand after an 11-month long hiatus. Private demand was largely flat, down by 0.6%.
Smaller cars remained most popular, with Supermini and Lower Medium vehicles taking a combined 57.4% market share. However, Dual Purpose was the fastest growing segment, with demand up by some 16.4%, 6,710 more than in the same month last year. Dual Purpose, Executive (+4.3%) and Luxury Saloon (+1.3%) were the only segments to register growth in June.
There was good news for the alternatively fuelled vehicle sector, with a 45.0% increase in plug-in and hybrid registrations as consumers responded to a growing range of models. Petrol cars also attracted more buyers, with demand up 12.3%. Diesel registrations fell by 28.2% as a result of continuing consumer uncertainty over future policy towards this technology.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Despite a rocky first six months for the new car market, it’s great to see demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles continue to rise. Given these cars still represent only one in 20 registrations, however, they cannot yet have the impact in driving down overall emissions that conventional vehicles, including diesels, continue to deliver. Recent government statements acknowledging the importance of petrol and diesel are encouraging. However, we now need a strategy that supports industry investment into next generation technologies and puts motorists back in the driving seat, encouraged to buy the car that best suits their needs, whatever its fuel type.”